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Insurance Execs Testify: No Need for the Public Option

11/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

With the president hitting the news talk shows on Sunday, I listened intently to a House hearing on health care conducted September 17, which was chaired by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Executives from various health insurance insurance companies gave testimony under oath. One question asked of one of them was: why is there not a need for a public option? The response was something like, "because federal legislation will provide for eliminating pre-existing conditions as a bar to coverage; that rescinding coverage following treatment will be eliminated so long as the policy has been paid; caps on out-of-pocket expenses, no ceiling on coverage, etc." I sensed a disconnect in logic, and here is why.

What this response did not reveal is that all these new regulations (which we most certainly need) will provide for increased exposures for insurers. Such increases will mean spending more dollars to cover additional claims and individuals that heretofore had never been a worry for insurers. And, in turn, all this means, less millions in revenues in the door for the shareholders and executives to divide up. Carrying this line of logic to its conclusion means that in order to refurbish the bottom line due to these additional payouts, more revenues will be needed -- and the way to do that is to INCREASE HEALTH CARE INSURANCE PREMIUMS. Now, recall that the executive who said there was no need for a public option because of all the benefits these additional regulations will bring really should have said, "we don't need a public option since that will only hinder our ability to raise more revenues that will be taken from us by all these additional regulations . . . and the way we raise revenues is to increase premiums that won't have to be held in check through the creation of a public option."

Isn't it high time for all Americans to realize that we are being fleeced by those like the insurance company executive who testified that we don't need a public option? Do corporate executives really think that they can pull the proverbial wool over our eyes? If so, they have another thing coming.

In the end, instead of saying or thinking public option, we all should say, "access" and "affording" health care; instead of saying or thinking public option, we all should start thinking about "choice" and real and effective "competition" -- for these words are what is really meant by -- public option!

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