Public Option: Crazy? Maybe Not

8 Nov

I wrote a post a month or so ago in which I tried to discuss the virtues of the public option, primarily the potential use of a public plan as a safety net to help cover high risk populations which cost more to the tax payer anyway. Which I still believe is the case, just look at how many states handle home owners insurance and you’ll figure out the cost benefit of having a public plan. But I was reading an New York Times Op-Ed today entitled Health Care That Works by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF.

I don’t generally read Kristof, but he brought up a few good points on the health care debate worth highlighting. The most significant valid point that he brings up is the fact that Veteran’s Hospitals are a form of socialized health care that provide an good product compared to many private sector options. Course the VA hospitals don’t serve a huge population, and the quality of care is commensurate with the service that these men and women have provided to the county, and therefor not cheap necessarily. But the point is that government does have some administrative success stories in the world of health care to suggest they might be able to handle a larger job.

Kristof also brings up the number of socialized programs that already exist in this country, and that produce a high level product. The most obvious are the Police and Fire departments around the country, which Americans would stand behind and consider these public servants as local hero’s. Rightfully so in my opinion.

But the difference is that the police force and fire fightes provide a necessary public service and combat communical problems. Health and health care are fundamentally private. This is why their is such a fierce debate about the public opinion from a policy standpoint.

Behind the conservative calls of socialism and Obama’s social agenda, their is a basic concern that government would impact the relationship someone has with their doctor. While many Democrats and public option proponents call this fear baseless and the result of Republican political misinformation, their is a sense that while insurance companies suck, at least we already know when, where and how they suck. Better the devil you know…

I’m not saying I agree with this thought process, but before a public option can win public support Congress and the President will have to really explain and flesh out their ideas to prove that there policies will not impact the doctor patient relationship. Just saying…


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