Some time back on Facebook, I had called the public option for health care a delusional fantasy. I was asked by a fellow blogger to explain. I had stated that I would cover this topic on my blog so that I can go into more detail. Well, getting to that took longer than I expected, so I apologize for that. Anyways, here is why I call a public option a delusional fantasy.
It is a fantasy because to have a "free health care for all" plan will fail by the simple fact that there is simply not enough money to support such a program. We will not be able to tax the rich enough to support it, because there aren't enough rich people to tax. And if you tax them too much (which you will have to do in order to get the funds for the public option), then they will either not be rich anymore, or they will take their money and leave the country. In either instance, we will be "SoL", because then who is left to tax for what will become the motherof all money pits? Ya got it, bucko. The rest of us slobs.
Plus, if employers are given the option of paying a private HMO for its employees vs not paying anything and letting them sign up for the gov't plan, what option do you think they will take? What employer would be willing to take on the added expense of paying for a private HMO for its employees when they wouldn't have to? And what private HMO could stay in business if employers drop them in favor of gov't plans? Those private HMOs will then go out of business, thus leaving the public "option" as the sole remaining option.
The argument that the gov't is simply trying to provide "competition" for private HMOs is a false argument, because there is no way a private HMO can compete with the gov't, who doesn't have to worry about making a profit, thus it can set its own prices - including prices that would be ruinous for private HMOs. This is simple economics that even I know. Soon we will be throwing money at an organization (the gov't HMO, that is) that has no incentive or motivation (like profit) to be doing a professional - or even a good - job in providing your health care.
I call the public option "delusional" because that is exactly what it is to expect that a change from a plan run by profit-mongers - that is, private HMOs - to a plan run by power-mongers - that is, a gov't plan that will become a football in the hands of politicians and lobbyists. Why would we expect that a simple exchange of mongers will make things better? At least with the private HMOs, we can hit them where it hurts by shopping around when they start putting profits ahead of service. Not so when the public option eventually becomes the only option.
Having said all this, this does not suggest that I don't think we need health care reform. Far from it. What I DON'T support is the belief that "health care reform" is totally synonymous with "gov't plan". In fact, I would view them as polar opposites. I am fully aware that private HMOs pull a lot of funny business and I would totally support true health care reform that helped to curb their abuses. More on those alternatives in my next or upcoming blog entry.
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3 months ago