Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
In the face of calls for “Medicare for All” on the presidential campaign trail, Joe Biden is pushing an old, familiar tune called “the public option.”
As pointed out by Scott W. Atlas, senior fellow at Sanford University’s Hoover Institution, in a recent Wall Street Journal oped, Biden sees the writing on the wall. Americans reject, by 57% to 37%, abolishing the private insurance market in favor of Medicare of All.
You know something is amiss when Biden, in announcing his plan, trots out a long disproved slogan: “If you like your health care plan, your employer based plan, you can keep it.”
Of course, it didn’t turn out that way. A public option would only serve to “crowd out” private insurance, according to Atlas. When government insurance expands, six people give up their private insurance for every 10 people who go on public insurance, according to an economist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The public option would cause premiums for private insurance to explode because of underpayment by the government for insurance, to the tune of $76.8 billion for Medicare and Medicaid in 2017, according to he American Hospital Association.
We all know the Medicare system is unsustainable, yet some want to expand it to everyone. And we see that the public option is a private insurance killer.
Changes to the current private insurance system, such as direct primary care and/or finding a way to reign in prescription drug prices, represent the most realistic way to fix the system. Medicare for All and the public option would take us in the opposite direction.