Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Public Option is Not Dead

No, in fact it is very much alive.

According to the CBO:
This morning CBO released a letter to Chairman Fortney Pete Stark analyzing a proposal to add a “public plan” to the options available through the health insurance exchanges that will be established under the recently enacted health care legislation—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA (Public Law 111-148).

Under the proposal, the Department of Health and Human Services would establish and administer a public health insurance plan and would charge premiums to fully cover its costs for benefit payments and administrative expenses. The plan’s payment rates for physicians and other practitioners would be based on Medicare’s current rates but would not be subject to the future reductions required by Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula; instead, those rates would initially increase by 5 percent and then would rise annually to reflect estimated increases in physicians’ costs. The plan would pay hospitals and other providers the same amounts that would be paid under Medicare, on average, and would establish payment rates for prescription drugs through negotiation. Health care providers would not be required to participate in the public plan in order to participate in Medicare.
Only problem is, since our government bureaucrats couldn't balance the health care budget with the much smaller Medicare program, what makes them think their next ploy will be any better?

My suggestion for Chairman Stark: show us the government can fix Medicare first.


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