The Public Option

The Public Option – A Panacea For Healthcare Reform?

With his election as the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama proposed wide-sweeping healthcare reform as a major impetus for the progression of this country as a whole.   The debate over healthcare reform centers around the introduction of the public insurance option which is essentially a government health insurance plan similar to Medicare, that is open to anyone.   Under President Obama’s current proposal for the public option would include guaranteed eligibility, comprehensive benefits, affordable premiums, co-pays, and deductibles as well as subsidies given to families to help maintain basic healthcare.   The public insurance option serves as an integral part of the proposed healthcare reform in that it will act as a public insurer of the American populace and initiate much needed competitive pressure on the insurance industry.

The public option would act as its name implies, as an alternative to the current insurance options that are available and not as a replacement.   This public option plan will compete with private plans, ensuring an insurance product with a broad choice of providers and encouraging private plans to match the administrative efficiencies, cost-control abilities, and quality-improvement capacities of public insurance (Waldman).   As a public insurer, the structure of the public option would be similar to a single-payer setup in which a government or government-related organization would collect all health care fees and pay out all healthcare costs.   With this option, the federal government would create a health insurance plan financed entirely by premiums to provide citizens not covered by employer or other state insurance plans an option for health insurance that would compete with private insurers (University).   One of the key points to this option is its availability to the vast majority of the American population including those who either have no...