Monday, August 31, 2009

Public option lives on

I've been reading for several months now how the public option was toast, roadkill, dead in the water, etc. Yet, in reality, the public option hasn't really gone anywhere.

Health care reform really will not mean anything without a public option or something rather identical. You need something that gives the uninsured an affordable or free option and also offers something for people who are underinsured.

There are two of the big health care problems. The uninsured drive up rates by using emergency rooms for their health needs. These emergency room costs are passed on to all consumers. Underinsured folk are now the leading statistic among people declaring bankruptcy. Their medical costs are driving them into insolvency. The number of underinsured people has been rising at an alarming rate. As they go down financially, they help drag the general economy down with them.

A public option could also help bring down overall medical costs just by providing more competition. Currently, health care costs are threatening to shut down retirement plans including the largest plan of them all -- Social Security and Medicare.

Without a public option, we're not likely to see any major change in the economic situation soon. There's too much tied into the health care system. There's at least as much tied into the health care system as was linked to the real estate market, and we saw what happened when that sector collapsed.

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