So What's Health Reform Without the Public Option?

It looks like adding a "public option"  to the heath care bill won't make it in the new bill that's going back to the Senate for a vote. The House and Seante reminds me of sales and accounting departments employed by the same comany... they are always at odds with one another.

It seems to me that the people who are saying “no” to the proposed Health Care Bill are those who currently have insurance in some fashion… either privately or through their employer and they fear loosing something or paying higher premiums. No one wants to pay more and no one wants the quality of their care to be less. I think I can safely remove those who have no health insurance from the argument. I will also guess that anyone without…would wish to have some kind of coverage.

Let me say before going on much further…that I have insurance provided through my employer and I pay a percentage of the coverage and of course co-pays for doctor visits, tests and prescriptions. Every year, our coverage degrades in order for the company to keep costs down. I’m envious of those who have much better coverage and less co-pays, even though; I don’t use the insurance as much as others do in my company. Having said this…I’m grateful for having the insurance. Some of my co-workers or their spouses have some very serious illnesses and I can’t imagine how they manage, even with coverage. I know that the healthier help carry the load for the less healthy and the younger help pay for the older employees. It’s the mix that makes it work.

As I understand the situation in California with health insurers is that they need a broader base of lower risk insureds in order to help pay for higher risk insureds. The problem is, that more and more lower risk insureds are dropping coverage, simply because they can no longer afford it, which reduces the pool of money available to pay for higher risk insureds… therefore the 39% increase. As we face more unemployment, we get a smaller pool. If rates continue to escalate, more employers drop coverage for their employees, which…you guessed it… reduces the pool. What did I read somewhere? …It’s a race to the bottom.

So…problems in California will be mirrored in other states soon enough and another downward spiral will begin.

I also do not understand why a public option is such a bone of contention. If you look at a public option as just another player in the market, the market will adjust for the new competition. Competition makes all us more honest (as if we shouldn’t be in the first place) and the pool of insurers will find ways to keep their piece of the pie, by lowering costs and/or deceptive practices. Insurance will get cheaper for all of us and cover those who aren't covered at all.

If we do nothing, we are all at risk of degrading or loosing what insurance we have.

A few questions:

· Aren’t we all paying a lot more for coverage every year?

· Do you/we think loosing coverage can’t happen to you?

· Does it make sense to help others and help and ourselves at the same time?

· Can we really afford to wait much longer for reform that includes a public option or single payer?