Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Senator Snowe on the Public Option

Eric Zimmerman watches MSNBC's Morning Joe so we don’t have to:

"The public option would be problematic," Snowe told MSNBC's Morning Joe when asked what changes to the bill could cost Democrats her vote. "As I've said I'm against a public option because I think the government would be another vast new bureaucracy, and also create a disproportionate advantage in the marketplace. And inevitably government's not going to do it better."


Does this make any sense at all? I know conservatives love to think government run organizations are horribly inefficient. But if a government run insurance company is not going to provide lower cost health insurance – how does the Senator think that it will have an advantage in the marketplace? And even if the government run insurance company does provide lower cost health insurance – isn’t this what we’d hope from competition?

9 comments:

Min said...

Insurance may actually be one of those things that government does best. That is, insurance in the form of sharing the risk among the clients.

Probably the reason that Republicans think that government is incompetent is that they imagine a Republican administration. (I know that sounds catty, but so things have proven since Eisenhower.) The level of competence in government is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

jsalvati said...

You have to be a special kind of dense not to understand what he's talking about. If the public plan is subsidized (not really crazy to imagine that), it could easily dominate the market while being worse overall (in terms of services and social costs). Doesn't mean he's right, but it's obvious what he's talking about.

ProGrowthLiberal said...

jsalvati - two points. First a minor one. The Senator from Maine is a SHE. Secondly as to your "if the public plan is subsidized" - to my knowledge, there is no special subsidy for the special option. Then again, AHIP and PwC sort of are ignoring provisions in the legislation that would tend to lower premiums so maybe it is hard to phantom what is really being proposed.

Steve said...

The public option will be so good insurance co will go broke.
Then the public option will be so bad we will hate. This has been the argument against it all along. Despite the facts that Medicare works and is popular and the VA works and is popular with those that use it. It is just a disingenuous argument.

Anonymous said...

The public option is a problem for a different reason: it would be the dumping ground for bad risks. Insurance companies would make out like bandits.

TheTrucker said...

Anonymous said...

"The public option is a problem for a different reason: it would be the dumping ground for bad risks. Insurance companies would make out like bandits."

That "dumping" will have its limits what with all the other provisions and stipulations on what can be offered as "insurance" and the "no pre-exsiting conditions". What _WILL_ happen is that employer insurance pools will continue to have a huge price advantage based on the fact that disabled, ill, and old people are not in those pools.

But individual policies will be offered by the public option at a lot lower rates than are currently available from the private insurance companies. While the public pool will be the people not in the lower risk pools, right now these people are getting thoroughly raped by the insurance companies and they will get some relief.

There is also the appeal of "take that job and shove it" and going it on ones own that might not even be possible unless there is a public option. And this will tend to add some very healthy people to the public pool. IMHO the extent to which job mobility and wages in the USA are hampered by the employer insurance system is grossly underestimated.

Bottom line is that "Public Option" is an improvement over no "Public Option". And this is more or less an opinion shared by the general public.

jamzo said...

1. the insurance companies would love to have "a dumping ground" - this cannot the reason for their oppposition to the public option

2. private insurance companies fought for and are trying to keep their medicare advantage subsidies

3. private insurance companies operate with a huge subsidy - an anti-trust exemption which sanctions price collusion and a non-competitive market place

gordon said...

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TheTrucker said...

I want to see _EVERY_ Senator carry his/her on water on the "Public Option". If the bill does not pass with a "Public Option" now, it will pass with a "Public Option" 15 months from now with a new crop of Senators. And the Senators not up for re-election in 2010 may find themselves in trouble in 2012. We have never before been this close to real reform. But without a public option it will be a big wet sloppy kiss for the private insurance companies.

If the insurance companies dump all the hard cases on the Public Company (which cannot actually happen), then these individuals will be able to get insurance less expensively than they otherwise would have done through the current risk pools. But the public company will compete across the board offering competitive rates to all sorts of risk levels. If the healthy get a low rate with the insurance companies then they will get a low rate with the Public Company. I don't think there is really any way to "dump" just the at risk people. And even that is better than not having any alternative but the thieves.