The public option, a plan where one can keep the health coverage they have or obtain government insurance if they want, has been touted as the best “compromise” between a single payer system and that of our current free market system. A single payer plan, in contrast, allows everyone to get health care from one insurer run by the government (similar to Canada). The problem is, our current dysfunctional system needs far more than just a compromise.
The public option still leaves profit-driven insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies in charge. This year alone, private insurers will take in over $200 billion more than they pay out. With their immense lobbying clout, they easily create ways to undermine regulations that help rein in their abuses. They also use their power to hassle the sickest until they leave and cherry-pick for those who need little care, in addition to raising payments at will. And adding public option to our already overloaded paper system would complicate things even more for institutions and physicians and increase risk of duplicity of charges under more added systems. Neither a does public option do anything to decrease overhead costs, high billings, administrative costs, CEO salaries, and shareholder profits.
Yes, single payer would be paid for by we taxpayers. But single payer would do far more to drain our health care swamp.