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Single-payer, Public Option, Co-Operatives: Socialized Health Care by Different Names

By Jeff Duncan

The month of August should be declared, “National Healthcare Discussion Month.”  For weeks, news outlets have covered the confrontations between rightfully concerned and upset citizens, and their elected representation in Washington.  Americans from across the political spectrum are upset because they are afraid health care legislation will bring about a rationed, lower quality of care.  Unfortunately, their concerns are well founded, especially in regards to the proposed public “option” and the seemingly identical health care co-operatives.

For years, liberals across the country, including President Obama in 2003, have supported something called a single-payer health care plan.  Single-payer is simply government run; government controlled health insurance.  Under a single-payer system, private insurance as we know it does not exist, and everyone is required to be a part of the government plan.  The negatives to single-payer include a lack of options in regards to health care, and the multi-year waits and rationed care that are far too common in countries with socialized medicine.  However, a majority of Democrats in Congress, including President Obama are now saying they are not interested in a single-payer system, but instead are pushing a proposal called the public “option.”  So what is this public option?

For starters, the public “option” really is not an option at all, but rather a program designed to use government regulation to bring about a single-payer system over time.  Supposedly, the “option” part of the public plan implies that citizens will have a choice in determining whether to enroll in the public plan or keep their own insurance.  However, this claim is proven simply not true after you examine the impact this legislation would have on private insurance.  Under the Democrat’s most current plan, the public “option” would create a government entity that would not only compete in the healthcare market with the powers of a fellow competitor, but also have the governmental authority of a referee.  The government backed public “option” will have the power and influence to force health care providers to accept lower patient reimbursement rates, requiring doctors and hospitals to make up revenue by disproportionably raising rates on the privately insured.  Either this will force employers to pay higher premiums for their workers’ insurance, or employers will choose to dump their employees into a cheap, lower-quality government plan.  As this vicious cycle continues and private costs begin to soar due to health care providers taking on more and more government plan patients, private insurance will be almost exclusively available to only the wealthiest of Americans.

The administration may not be advocating for a single payer, government run health care plan directly, but they are pushing for a public “option” that will bring about government run health care in a matter of years.  When I listen to the debate on health care, I cannot help but worry about the mess we are creating for my three boys and every child in their generation.  Our leaders in Washington and Columbia are trying to spend money our country does not have, literally mortgaging away our children’s future.  From a stimulus bills that grows government more than the economy, to health care reform that will raise our taxes and yet lowers the quality of medical care.  Our children, our seniors, and our nation all deserve better.

Jeff Duncan for Congress (SC-03) www.JeffDuncan.com

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