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Please come clean on the public health plan

Posted Jun 28 2009 9:16pm
A few days ago, I wrote about the inconsistencies in the President's and Congressional descriptions of a public health insurance plan and suggested that it had other purposes than the ones they were describing. I now find a kindred spirit in Clive Crook at The Atlantic, who notes:

[I]t is surely disingenuous to say that a public plan can be just another competitor. How can just another competitor "keep them [the private insurers] honest"? If the public plan makes a difference it will be because of its market and political power, and because of its ability to attract subsidy--in short, because it is not just another competitor. If in turn it exerts those pressures, Obama's pledge that nothing will change for Americans who have private health insurance they like will be impossible to honor.

As I note above, if Congress wants to do this, it must be for the express purpose, first, of giving access to insurance to people at a lower cost, thereby reducing the amount of appropriations needed for subsidies of lower income people. And, second, over time, using those cost advantages to cause more and more people to migrate to the public plan. Perhaps those are the right answers for the country, perhaps not. But let's debate those directly, instead of using fuzzy arguments.
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