Foster Supporting “Robust Public Option” in Healthcare Bill

But first, though, in case you didn’t receive Rep. Bill Foster’s automated phone call: He’s now got an outreach program of constituent services for “any problems you are having with the federal government,” such as social security or veterans’ issues. You can find the congressman’s staff on hand to help you in the DeKalb Public Library on the second Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m.

Moving on…Rep. Foster is one of 22 representatives who have signed a letter to the congressional leadership in support of a “robust public health insurance option” in healthcare legislation.

The heart of their argument:

First, it will guarantee competition and choice. According to the American Medical Association, 94 percent of state insurance markets in the United states are not competitive. That level of concentration has stifled competition and allowed premiums to rise four times faster than wages over the last nine years. Second, it will lower costs and improve efficiency. Between 1997 and 2006, private health insurance premiums increased an average of 7.3 percent year [sic], while Medicare spending per enrollee rose by only 4.6 percent for the same benefits — making private insurance growth 59 percent faster than Medicare. Third, it will provide a necessary benchmark and transparency. A public health insurance option will set a standard against which private insurers have to compete, while giving us necessary information on utilitization and payments that private insurers have refused to divulge. Fourth, it will expand access, ensure health equity, and guarantee coverage stability. A public health insurance option will be available and remain available for all consumers in all parts of the country.

The reps also support a level playing field; i.e., the public option should enjoy no regulatory advantages over private insurers. (I am not sure how that is achieved, but for starters try to avoid US Postal Service pitfalls.)

Link to full letter here.

Tell Mr. Foster what you think of his position here.

2 thoughts on “Foster Supporting “Robust Public Option” in Healthcare Bill”

  1. I would say that the Post Office was here first, just one year older than the United States, thank you Benjamin Franklin. So, if the pack and send people really want to compete, then people should be given complete choice over which company delivers what. That means I think the pack and send people could be delivering regular mail, too, including those Publishers’ Clearing House envelopes that I receive almost daily. ;-)

    OK, on health insurance, the biggest problem I see is how the system is set up. It should simply mirror the auto, home owners’, and life insurance industries and pool all of the risk across all of its customers. I hear from small employers that their health insurance rates get based on what happens with just their employees. Well, that is crazy to me; the rates should be based on a much larger pool, as in all of the customers in a huge geographical area that belong to the insurance company, not the business purchasing a plan.

    I am currently reading Richard A. Clarke’s “Your Government Failed You” which is on the intelligence system in the United States. It sat on my shelf for over a year but I am off work because of surgery. The book is an analysis of the failures of the government’s intelligence system. After reading just half of that book, I cringe at any thought of the government creating anything like a new department of health insurance. We got World War II right. We got the G.I. bill right following World War II. We got a man on the moon right. We got the interstate system right decades ago. But when is the last time we got anything big right?

    Anybody talking about health insurance better be talking about lessons learned from the implementation of Medicare Part D, starting with do not let the lobbyists write the legislation!

  2. I read Richard Clarke’s book on how 9/11 was handled. It was absolutely riveting. He is a true patriot and was a solid public servant for many years. His story is a cautionary tale on what happens when idealogy drives governmental decision-making instead of figuring out what works, and when idealogues get the decision-making jobs instead of the people who know what the hell they are doing.

    Something that’s interesting to me is that some of the folks who oppose it are on Medicare. So, I have to ask what the verdict is on Medicare. Are our seniors better off with Medicare than without? If they are better off, then maybe what’s called for is an expansion of this program to admit more people.

    I am perfectly aware that Medicare has some serious faults but it seems to me almost half the battle is to identify the faults in your system so you can fix them. Why re-invent the wheel?

    Incidentally, I came across in my readings recently that the British Parliament first enacted national health care legislation in 1911 (though they took it up in earnest after WWII). Here is an article I found today that offers food for thought on the British experience compared to U.S.

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