No Public Health Insurance Option Any Time Soon
Today the Senate Finance Committee voted against two amendments that were designed to create a government insurance program, which has been called the “government option” in the media. It wasn’t overly surprising that it didn’t pass. What was somewhat surprising is that the main guy trying to push health care coverage through, Senator Max Baucus, voted against it.
His reasoning was sound. He believed that with the public option on the table that the full bill wouldn’t be able to withstand a Republican filibuster, which would have pretty much killed the entire bill without a vote. He’s probably right, since there wasn’t a single Republican who was going to vote for it, including the one Republican who’s on the side of health care, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine.
I haven’t talked much about whether I support a government health care plan or not. Truthfully, I’m of mixed emotions on it. On one hand, I think it would bring the cost of health care down a degree if insurance companies had to compete against a health care plan that offered lower premiums.
On the other, with all the other problems we’re having with the economy these days, and knowing that at a certain point there will be a tipping point where all health insurance will start going back up anyway, I’m not sure that’s the way to go. Not only that, but not everyone would be eligible for the government public option either. Larger companies with more than 100 employees wouldn’t be a part of the mix, and if insurance companies continued as they usually do, those companies would bear the brunt of higher premiums. Where would the benefit be there?
This must be said, though. The Republican claims that a government option would mean the government would take over health care is a lie, and they know it. Either that or they’re totally clueless, in which case they shouldn’t be senators. If we ever go down that route, as I’ve said in the past, there would still be insurance companies. So that one’s just a scare tactic.
Of course, I’ll still be mad at any health care plan that comes out with that provision about fines, which I think is a slap against the middle class. I hope that sucker is gone from the final bill; I’d hate to be on the side against it.