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Public Plan: best option?

. 3 Comment(s)

An editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer asserts that public plan is the best option for controlling costs and increasing coverage:

The most assured means of tamping down costs while providing greater access to health coverage could be through the government-run health plan that Obama proposes as a new option. Private insurers so far oppose that idea, but congressional proposals being developed would level the playing field between the public and private health plans. That's a good approach.

Is a public plan option the best way to control cost and increase access?

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  1. Tina Dobsevage


    Single payer public health insurance, i.e. Medicare, is the best option and the least expensive. Two recent articles in April, one in the Annals of Internal Medicine and the other in Archives of Internal Medicine, present studies which demonstrate how Medicare improves health and reduces racial inequities in outcomes for congestive heart failure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Instead of being arrested, physicians who are knowledgeable about the single payer option should be part of the discussion in the Senate Finance Committee. We should all support the Conyers/Kucinich bill, H.R. 676.

  2. Don Thieman


    The pricing oligopolies, and local monopolies, held by some insurers, large medical groups, hospital systems, drug makers and device manufacturers (including delaying patent expirations), just to name the biggest ones, are too powerful for even large state governments to overcome. The lobbying dollars from health care--Pharma greatest among them--are the largest in Washington, DC. The modest concessions from America's Health Insurance Plans, Pharma, and others to date reflect both their fear of a public option, and in the small size of the concessions, they show the need for a public option. Without the negotiating power of a federal public option, and its impact on monopolies and oligopolies in health care pricing, as well as potential impact on adoption of care improvements like the medical home and targeted quality improvement, we have no realistic hope to bend the cost curve much. As pointed out in other comments, the lobbying and market power of the private system in the U.S. will remain great regardless of having a public option. While primary care doctors may worry that they, too, will be impacted by a federal program's pricing leverage, they have the least to worry about--we need more of us in IM, FM, and Peds almost everywhere, and paying and supporting that growth will have to be one of the policy initiatives--public and private.

  3. Owen Linder MD


    I agree with the last comment.

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