There’s legislation to create a “public option” for health care coming down the pipeline at the Capitol, and everyone should be aware of its consequences. Proponents say they want to increase competition in areas that have limited insurance providers, and in doing so, lower costs. The problem is that the insurance provider would be the state government, and taxpayers would likely be left footing the bill. Government run programs aren’t known for their quality or ability to stay within budget — what’s to make us believe this will be different? Obamacare is an example of what happens when the government gets intertwined with health care by regulating private insurance. In the last decade, regulations have pushed private insurance providers out of the market.
We can look at what’s happening with Medicaid as another example — it’s costing way more than projected, and doctors are leaving the system because they aren’t reimbursed for the full cost of treatment. Forcing public-option “competition” into communities will, in all likelihood, end up pushing the last private insurance providers out.
What can we do to make health care costs more reasonable and encourage competition? Apply for state innovation waivers to lessen the burden of overregulation (and increase true competition). Utilize telemedicine more — especially in rural areas. Allow nurse practitioners to do more. We need greater transparency. More than anything, we need bipartisan legislators working together to truly lower costs and increase quality. A public option isn’t the solution.