That didn’t take long at all. Left‐wing congresscritters have (re-)introduced legislation to create a “public option” in ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges.
The Congressional Budget Office scores the bill as reducing federal deficits by $53 billion by 2019. How? Paying doctors and hospitals less! Put that on a bumper sticker! The public option would use Medicare’s price and exchange controls to pay doctors and other health care providers 5 percent more than Medicare does. Except for prescription drugs: the public option would, ahem, “negotiate” those prices, meaning it would use a separate price‐control scheme and pay less than Medicare does. (That means PhRMA probably won’t be bankrolling the public‐option campaign the way it bankrolled the pro‐ObamaCare campaign and is bankrolling the re‐election bids of its congressional benefactors.) Providers, such as community hospitals, would take a huge pay cut if some of their privately‐insured patients suddenly only paid Medicare plus 5 percent.
When costs explode under ObamaCare the way they are exploding under RomneyCare, expect the public option to be the Left’s go‐to solution. In CongressDaily, co‐sponsor Rep. Raul Grijalva (D‐Ariz.) says:
By reintroducing it, we make sure that people don’t forget this is a viable option.… I think as the health bill is implemented, more and more people are going to come to the realization that cost containment and competition aren’t as robust as they should be, because of the absence of the public option.
Naturally. Because the first thing that comes to mind when I think cost‐containment and competition is government health care programs.
For a refresher on how the Left confuses cost‐containment with spending‐containment — and on why the public option is a really, really, really bad idea — see my paper, “Fannie Med? Why a ‘Public Option’ Is Hazardous to Your Health.”