Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton wrote an interesting piece about the public health insurance option for the Wall Street Journal in which he nails big-insurance, big-pharma, and the American Medical Association for protecting the status quo.
Of course, they don’t want it. A public option would squeeze their profits and force them to undertake major reforms. That’s the whole point.
He goes on to point out that in a capitalistic system, a public health care option is exactly what we need to spur innovation and lower costs. One by one, he picks apart the common arguments against a public option: it’s government mandated health care, it has an unfair advantage due to economies of scale and lower administrative costs, it’s a not-for-profit competing in a for-profit market and so on.
If we hope to reign in health care costs, we must include a public option as part of the reform.
Yet without a public option, the other parties that comprise America’s non-system of health care — private insurers, doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and medical suppliers — have little or no incentive to supply high-quality care at a lower cost than they do now.