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The Not-Very-Public Option

November 2, 2009

In a previous post I noted how the public option being promoted by Herndon Alliance, Health Care for America Now (HCAN), and other anti-single payer/pro-public option groups, didn’t resemble what was actually developing in the congressional committees. I got a lot of information for that post from the pieces by Kip Sullivan at the PNHP blog.

A couple of days ago he posted another excellent article that continues to strip away the public option hype: What role will insurance companies play in the “public option”? It explains how the insurance market really works and how the not-so-public option is likely to fare within it. It’s long but definitely worth reading.

After reading it, consider the opening line of the “Rapid Response” email sent by Brian of HCAN on October 29:

Earlier today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled the latest version of the House health reform bill, H.R. 3962, “The Affordable Health Care for America Act.”  This bill is the embodiment of everything we’ve worked for up ’til now , and we need to make sure that our Members of Congress carry it through.

Has Brian been paying attention? Hey, Brian – call me in 2013 and say that again.

One thing is clear about the outcome of health care “reform” legislation – insurance companies and other health care industries are about to make a lot of money (Hold the phone! Maybe that’s why the bill really is the embodiment of everything HCAN has worked for!). Even the expansion of Medicaid, which many progressives point to as one of the positive elements in the bills, will be turned into insurance company profits, since many states have commercial Medicaid managed care options.

The questions now are: Assuming it passes, which reasonable people can argue is better than not passing, will the left continued to divided by the same PR tactics of the health care industries when the complete inadequacy of this reform becomes apparent to all the well-intentioned HCAN members? And, is there any possibility that a government incapable of making policy based on evidence and reason can deal effectively with any of the major crises we are currently facing, from the economy to climate chaos?

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