Health Care – the Public Option

I have reviewed Obama’s Baltimore Q&A with House Republicans.  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/01/obamas-qa-with-house-republica.html?sid=ST2010012902974 I was so incensed when Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican from Tennessee, spoke about Health Care.

We’ve got plans to lower cost, to change purchasing models, address medical liability, insurance accountability, chronic and preexisting conditions, and access to affordable care for those with those conditions, insurance portability, expanded access, but not doing it with creating more government, more bureaucracy and more cost for the American taxpayer.

Imagine if she had been talking about education for children K through 12.  What if there were no education public option?  In 1818, Boston became the first American city to have a complete government-financed school system from the primary to the secondary level.  (http://www.mackinac.org/2034)  Without public education we would be back in the eighteenth century when children could go to a private school if their parents could afford it.

But the Republicans are on record saying that the Public Option would be Socialist!

Republican opposition to the public option – a government-run insurance program designed to compete with private insurers – remained stiff.
The reason? It’s socialist. At least that’s what Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele told “Early Show” co-host Harry Smith”
September 2, 2009, echoing a familiar criticism leveled at the public option by conservatives. http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/09/09/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5296598.shtml

Socialism.  As if anyone would do away with or socialist school systems, or socialist Unemployment Compensation or Social Security or Medicare.  In The Future of Medicare: Finishing What We Started Bruce Vladeck points out that

Medicare was crafted as the first, incremental step towards universal health care. Just as the Social Security system, on which Medicare was modeled, had been improved and expanded upon many times in its first 30 years, so Medicare was supposed to be the seed from which future expansions—both vertical (incorporating more of the population) and horizontal (broadening the benefits)—would spring. http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Commentaries/2005/Jul/The-Future-of-Medicare–Finishing-What-We-Started.aspx

CBS News did a poll in June of last year regarding the controversial Public Option.  They found that

A majority of Americans supports government involvement in health care, and many think the government would do a better job than the private sector providing coverage and controlling costs. Most also favor a government option that competes with private insurers.  http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/CBSPOLL_June09a_health_care.pdf?tag=contentMain;contentBody

At the least, we need to at least expand Medicare to 60, so that those who have started their Social Security may also start Medicare.  At the most, we need government-sponsored health care because only the government could negotiate a large enough package to compete with private insurers.  Individual people, either out of work or with jobs that do not include health care, cannot do that.

I have emailed Representative Marsha Blackburn as well as my Republican Senators, McCain and Kyle.  I hope that you will do the same.

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