The Public Option vs. Co-ops

I’ve been a fan of a government public option for health care. I have even been a fan of what some see as the more extreme single payer option. However, after watching the health care debate and thinking about the situation, I am leaning towards non-profit co-ops as the best possible solution. Of course this is only if the co-ops have to have the same rules as the public option, such as not rejecting people for pre-existing conditions.

Fox News has an article up with the title, “Town Halls Having an Impact? White House Bends on Health Care Provision in Face of Discontent”. I agree that the town halls are having an impact; not the shouting and pushing, but rather people asking logical and reasoned questions. I think that is an important point because people may be under the misguided assumption that bullying people with their position is resulting in the White House rethinking the public option. It is not! It is logical and reasoned questions about the public option. I came up with a list of my own worries about a government public option.

1. Would the playing field be level for the public option versus the private insurance option? The public option would need to have the same type of expenses as the private insurance companies. If a public option with fewer expenses has an unfair advantage, it could drive private insurance out of the marketplace.

2. Would the government only use our public option health care premiums to deal with our health care? I think social security is a great government program. However, even though it should be self-sustaining since it’s funded by taxes, the government spends the money. As a result, the country is facing a severe social security shortage. Will future Presidents be responsible and not spend our health care premiums so they are there when we need them?

3. Would the public option drive out the private insurance option? Obama makes a good point regarding this by saying, “UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.” However, if the public option is run well then it would logically put private insurance out of business. It is just a basic business principle that if you have two competing companies selling the same thing with the same expenses and one wants to make a profit and the other one doesn’t then the one that doesn’t should drive the other out of business. Do I trust all future Presidents to handle being the sole provider of health care insurance? Will the future Presidents manage the insurance properly?

I’m not rejecting a public option, but I’m glad it is being debated. I still just as strongly believe that health care must be reformed. As more arguments come out against co-ops, I may lean back towards the public option. Some may call that being wishy-washy, but I just call it learning.