Elizabeth Williamson and August Cole of the Wall Street Journal reported today that the Obama administration, alongside Democrats, is close to throwing in the towel on the most controversial piece of the proposed legislation for health care reform: a public insurance option. Yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, said that this provision is not the most “essential” part of a reform bill. President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, also said Sunday that while the President believes a public option would be the best way to increase choice and competition in the insurance marketplace, there are alternatives that can accomplish the same goal.
On Saturday, Obama held a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, CO. Towards the end of the meeting, he said, “Whether we have it [public insurance option] or we don’t have it, is not the entirety of health care reform”.
Opponents have formed on all sides of this key issue in the health care reform debate. Angry protesters have turned out in many numbers across the country. Fearing an eventual governmental overhaul of the system, Americans who have never been involved in politics have become ensconced in the debate.
Health care reform could be devastating for private insurance company owners, who have been demonized in the past couple of weeks for posting record profits year after year. The fear is justified because if a public plan is put in place, hospitals and doctors would begin charging private insurers more per claim to make up for the expected losses from reduced reimbursement by the government. Americans are worried that these businesses would be driven out as private insurers already pay more per claim due to Medicare and Medicaid.
To read the entire Wall Street Journal article, click here: Chances Dim for a Public Plan