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AdLib On November - 19 - 2009

healthcare2The CBO is estimating that 2/3 of the U.S. population will have a Public Option available in their state, according to the Senate bill.

Unless I’m reading this breaking news wrong, this does not mean the Public Option will be available to most people but that 1/3 of the U.S. population will live in states that opt out of offering the Public Option.

The CBO goes on to say that the Public Option’s premium will likely cost more than private insurance plans  so only 3 -4 million Americans are expected to sign up. Still, I would hazard to guess that the benefits provided and size of deductible would be better than the lowest cost, high deductible private plans people could buy.

Could that be true? Would that many states opt out of a public plan even though it’s of no cost to them? Just to serve their insurance industry contributors at the expense of the millions of human beings in their states (not counting Texas, of course)? And will those voters take politicians out of office and replace them with those who will opt in to the Public Option?

Considering how rates keep rising, I would also hazard to guess that as private insurance companies keep squeezing more profits out of premiums and since the Public Option expense won’t include paying billions more in exec salaries, the two’s price points should cross in the near future, where the Public Option costs less, offering lower deductibles while insurance companies keep offering lesser expensive premiums but with $5,000 deductibles.

As long as the Public Option is able to take root, it does seem that with the passing of time, it will become more and more desirable and eventually open up to the majority of Americans.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

42 Responses so far.

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  1. nellie says:

    Bernie Sanders is on Ron Reagan saying he thinks the Dems have the votes for cloture. Randi Rhodes earlier predicted the two senators from Maine would join Dems to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. It’s going to be interesting ….

  2. bitohistory says:

    Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is on the tube, right now, saying that the bill is a 2.5 trillion dollar bill. Will anyone ask him “Hey, Lamar, where did you get those numbers? Huh?”

    • javaz says:

      Hi bitohistory!

      You don’t think that Arizona will opt out of the public option?
      Isn’t the opt out clause, but under a different name, on our ballot next November?

      I do not know what to think, but I do know that there are some reasonable Republicans out there complaining about health care insurance costs.

      My dental hygienist is a very young woman and very Republican, and she had a baby two years ago.
      Yesterday the health care reform came up and she told me that she’s outraged because her monthly premiums for her, her husband and her baby is $1600.00!
      My gosh, that is ridiculous for young, healthy people!
      I explained how Reagan was the person that caused this fiasco, and she said that other patients had told her the same thing, but then she said, and bless her heart, that Reagan had people’s best interests at heart, and didn’t understand the ramifications or greed.
      The good news though, was that her and my Mormon dentist are disgusted with health care costs and want reform and an affordable option.
      That is shocking.

  3. KQuark says:

    I think that’s a conservative estimate no double meaning intended.

    I know the right wing will try to fight healthcare in their states for some sick political points. I really don’t see where they get that number the only big state I think that will dare opt out is TX.

    I would not be surprised if the estimate was just based on how many states are dominated by Republican governors and legislators now. But as we saw with the stimulus even the Republican state legislators don’t like to refuse public money or programs.

    • AlphaBitch says:

      Texas opting out may well mean Texas could turn blue. It has a high number of uninsured (yes, they are legal), and a high ccst to provide medical care to the uninsured. It could mean people getting more involved. Or not. Such a stubborn state -- long ago, a friend compared Texas to Afghanistan (having stayed in both places long enough to be familiar with them). We seem to rank high in goof-balls and uneducated! I mean, it’s where Glen Beck bumped uglies with Ted Nugent. It was also the home of Miss Ann (Richards) and Mollie Ivins. A land of contrasts and big hair..

      • PepeLepew says:

        Yeah, but that’s assuming a majority of Texans will vote their interests.
        I have no doubt there are some very good people in Texas, but you need a majority voting for their interests.

    • bitohistory says:

      The CBO was really vague on how they came up with that 1/3-2/3 thing. Looks like it’s a best guess thing.

  4. bitohistory says:

    Think this is going to be easy from now on?
    From my mail box this morning:

    Breaking news: Since the historic health care vote, outside Republican special interest groups have spent nearly $2.4 million directly attacking Democrats who voted “yes” on health care.

    They have made it clear -- they will say or do whatever it takes no matter the cost.

    I won’t let their special interest friends stop us from creating the change our country needs. This year already, opponents of health care reform led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have spent $60 MILLION on attack ads.

  5. bitohistory says:

    First take. Works for me. I even will take the opt out portion. Can you imagine the reaction in a “purple state” if they opt-out?
    Can you see the “red states” outside looking in? I belive that this will cause a change in the long run. Short run, it may not be the best for the country but it may be the only “sausage” that could be made with the given ingredients that were on hand.

    It is afoot in the door for universal HC

    1912-2009, now that didn’t take too long, did it?

    • KQuark says:

      You can’t deny the competitive advantage in states that will have the public option either especially for small businesses and attracting employees.

      Think about it out out states will have higher insurance where less businesses will offer healthcare insurance. That’s a recipe for economic disaster in those states.

      • bitohistory says:

        Good point, KQ. There does seem that there will some effect on commerce in the opt-out states. AZ is trying to opt-out even before it is enacted. According to what I could understand (from the bill) it can’t be done. ???

  6. KevenSeven says:

    The opt out is a clever ploy to defuse reaction to the bill. But every compromise stinks to a greater or lesser extent.

    Let various states opt out. Those will be red states and those people already hate me for not being a real American, so bugger them.

  7. escribacat says:

    I thought the point of the public option was to provide a lower cost premium, which would create more competition in the insurance exchange. I don’t get it.

    • KQuark says:

      Adlib is right about his points and the public option will have more people with preexisting conditions so average costs will be higher.

      But the important thing is to compare apples to apples for people with preexisting conditions or who are older the public option will most like be cheaper than private insurance while private insurance will probably try to cherry pick what they can and offer low cost programs to younger healthier people like AdLib said. This is what will skew the costs.

      I see allot of incomplete information about the public option having higher premiums not explaining why the average would be higher.

    • AdLib says:

      I think the explanation is that the private insurance plans can offer plans with lower premiums but very high deductibles whereas the Public Option is probably limited on how high its deductibles are so they can’t afford to cut premiums as much.

      You get what you pay for, if you pay $500 a year less in premiums with a private plan but your deductible is $1,500 higher, what are you really saving?

      In essence, private insurers can offer virtually useless plans for less than a Public Option with solid benefits and reasonable deductibles.

      And as I mentioned, as time goes by, even those worthless plans will probably end up more expensive than the Public Option…until enough folks join it and the competition factor kicks in.

      • KQuark says:

        I’m glad to see someone else gets it. For people that actually need healthcare many of the private insurance plans will be a bunch of shite. Especially when you have a chronic disease paying higher premiums and having lower deductibles is a must for budgeting.

        Let’s also not forget that private insurance will still try to bend the rules not to pay all your claims. They can always go to the experimental or not medically necessary card even with the new rules.

      • KevenSeven says:

        There was a Monty Python skit, Michael Palin played an insurance salesman, when a Reverend showed up to report that he had totaled his car, Palin showed him the fine print where it said that he did not ever have to pay him any claims.

        Makes me think of insurance companies selling across state lines. I live in CA. Does my insurance commissioner have the power to regulate companies domiciled in Arkansas and Nebraska? Even if they are selling fraudulent plans?

  8. bitohistory says:

    AdLib, from where did you get this summary of the CBO report? I would like to take a look at it.

    • AdLib says:

      The report was in this article:


      Some key sections of the article:

      The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that about two-thirds of the U.S. population would have a public plan available in their state, even though the Democrats’ 10-year, $848-billion bill would allow states to opt out.

      Wide availability doesn’t mean the government plan would dominate the market, however. The budget umpires are estimating only 3 million to 4 million people would sign up, partly because private insurance plans would be able to offer lower premiums. While most Americans would be able to observe the new experiment with government coverage, few would actually participate.

      Employers would not be required to offer coverage, but medium and large companies would pay a fee if the government ends up subsidizing employees’ insurance.

      Reid called for increasing the Medicare payroll tax by half a percentage point to 1.95 percent on income over $200,000 a year for individuals, $250,000 for couples. He also included a tax on high-value insurance policies, meant to curb the appetite for expensive care.

      On a controversial issue that threatened to derail the House legislation, Reid would allow the new government insurance plan to cover abortions and would let companies that receive federal funds offer insurance plans that include abortion coverage.

      • nellie says:

        Unbelievable — it sounds like an improvement over the House bill.

        Thanks, AdLib. I’m hoping to read the bill over the weekend. This gives me some great guidance on what to look for.

        • KQuark says:

          The way it treats abortion rights is a huge improvement but the subsidies are much lower in the Senate bill.

          All in all Reid did a great job.

          • nellie says:

            It is a give and take. I do like the fact that employers are not required to cover employees. That gives the public option much more of a prominent place in the system.

      • bitohistory says:

        Thanks, and thank you for reading though it. Government reports can be quite dense an confussing
        I will get my staff right on this. 😉

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