The public option. Polls indicate that the American people are head over heels in love with the public option. And the preliminary scoring from the Congressional Budget Office gives some indication why: the early word is that a "strong public option--the kind that the House of Representatives is putting in its reform bill--should net somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 billion in savings over ten years. "
But, via Brian Beutler at TPM comes the news that at least one GOP opponent of the measure still has grave concerns. Minnesota Representative John Kline recently went on Minnesota Public Radio to despair over the way the public option would save his constituents money:
"There are some things in this legislation that I find particularly troublesome," Kline told Minnesota Public Radio. Specifically, he was thinking of the public option. "[O]ur fear is that if you actually get in there looking at the legislation that it's set up in a way that employers would increasingly opt to letting their employees move over to the public, to the public option. And because it is cheaper, it's designed to save money, which the government-run program has some very clear advantages, and the claims that it's gotta pay for itself that through the first three years of this there would be government subsidies."
Beutler adds: "I assume that public opinion polling must show overwhelmingly that Americans want to pay more for health care so that insurance companies don't have to contend with a superior, cheaper competitor. Otherwise it's hard to understand Kline's statements anything other than a call to subsidize insurance companies--and no elected official would ever stand for that." Well, if the conservadem coalition is successful at preventing the public option from taking advantage of Medicare's below market rates, it seems to me that the insurance companies may yet obtain their subsidy.
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