"The nation does not need a 'public option.' As Senator Landrieu
points out, the unsustainable public options we have are already
rapidly driving the nation into bankruptcy. What Congress ought
to be focused on is entitlement reform, not entitlement expansion."
—ALG President Bill Wilson.
October 26th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today condemned 30 senators who recently signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid demanding that the "public option" be included in the final Senate health bill, calling the plan "a radical scheme to bankrupt the nation's entire health care system."
"These 30 senators have clearly lost track of even the most rudimentary accounting procedures," said Wilson, adding that, "The so-called 'public option' would take one-sixth of the nation's economy and put it in the hands of an already bankrupt government. In the process, the quality of everyone's health care would be watered down, Medicare would be severely cut, and they would further bankrupt the public treasury."
The letter from Senate Democrats to Reid stated, "[W]e are asking for your leadership on ensuring that the merged health reform bill contains a public insurance option."
Wilson pointed to Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) opposition to the "public option," who said it would likely face the same problems as Medicare and Medicaid. "Why don't we fix the two public options we have now instead of creating a third one… I think if you asked, do you want a public option but it would force the government to go bankrupt, people would say no."
"The Senate should be listening to Senator Landrieu's voice of moderation on this issue," said Wilson.
According to the Associated Press, Reid intends to include the "public "option" in the final bill before the Senate.
"Senators must reconsider and reject this radical approach that will add trillions of dollars to the national debt over the coming years, does not pay for itself, and will destroy private health options by making them unaffordable. They must not follow Reid's lead into financial oblivion," Wilson said.
Wilson disagreed with the letter which stated, "Without a not-for-profit public insurance alternative that competes with… insurers based on premium rates and quality, insurers will have free rein to increase insurance premiums and drive up the cost of federal subsidies tied to those premiums."
"Simply, increased government involvement in health care will increase the costs associated with delivering health care. What these senators are really arguing for is a practical, government-run monopoly over delivering care," Wilson said.
Wilson pointed to a recent Price Waterhouse Cooper report commissioned by America's Health Insurance Plans that stated, "by 2019 the cost of single coverage is expected to increase by $1,500 more than it would under the current system and the cost of family coverage is expected to increase by $4,000 more than it would under the current system."
The report continues, "This amounts to an additional 18 percent increase in premiums by 2019." The report states that this average increase is a "composite of increases by market segment": a 49 percent increase for the individual market, a 28 percent increase for employers with fewer than 50 employees, an 11 percent increase for larger employers, and a 9 percent increase for self-insured employers.
According to Rasmussen Reports, 57 percent of voters nationwide believe it will raise the cost of health care, and 53 percent believe the quality of care will get worse. A full 51 percent are opposed to the plan. And 63 percent "are strongly opposed to a public option if they think it could lead employers to drop the existing coverage they provide employees."
Americans for Limited Government estimates that the "public option" will cost taxpayers some $2.1 trillion over ten years, and "leave the nation in a downward spiral of declining quality while costs skyrocket and taxpayers are broken."
According to analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate Finance Committee bill will cut Medicare and Medicaid by approximately $404 billion, and include tax increases of $406 billion over ten years.
"The nation does not need a 'public option.' As Senator Landrieu points out, the unsustainable public options we have are already rapidly driving the nation into bankruptcy. What Congress ought to be focused on is entitlement reform, not entitlement expansion," Wilson concluded.