Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Public Option is Alive and Well, But Hidden

The May 17, 2010 SF Examiner warns that the "Public option is alive and well, but hidden".

Here's an excerpt:
The truth is the public option is alive and well, residing in Section 1334, pages 97-100, of the new health care law. That section gives the U.S. Office of Personnel Management -- which presently manages the federal civil service -- new responsibilities: establishing and running two entirely new government health insurance programs to compete directly with private insurance companies in every state with coverage for people outside of government.

Quoting the new law, former OPM director Donald Devine notes that it makes the OPM boss a health care czar, with power to set "'profit margin premiums and other such terms and conditions of coverage as are in the interest of enrollees in such plans.' That's open-ended. You can do anything." Dan Blair, another former OPM director, calls the new program "nothing but a placeholder for the public option." Indeed, the OPM head is also given the authority to "appoint as many employees" as needed to run the program, and to spend "such sums as may be necessary" to establish and administer it.
(Read the full text of "Public option is alive and well, but hidden".)

If we wish to undo this legislation, we will have our work cut out for us -- both in November and afterwards.