Public/private health care plan tough to imagine

Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe is shaping up to be a pivotal player again in another national debate, this one over health care reform.

Some Democrats and President Barack Obama favor creating a public option for health care insurance that would compete with the private market. Snowe recently made headlines after announcing she's open to the idea, with certain reservations.

She is the only Republican on the key Senate Finance Committee who seems willing to compromise with the Democrats. Republicans, meanwhile, have lined up staunchly against the idea, pointing out that Medicare and Medicaid are already on the path to insolvency, and that creating a public option would unfairly compete with large private insurers.

This will be a complex and emotional debate, as both sides try to sway the American people to their side. Misinformation and exaggerations are sure to fly as the two sides do battle.

Polls at this point show about 75 percent of Americans approve of a public option. But polling on such questions is often meaningless.

Poll takers never give respondents a true picture. For instance, would Americans still favor an extension of government benefits if it would increase their taxes?

And by what amount? $100 per year might sound OK, but how about $1,000 per year for the average family?

Would Americans still favor a public option if it meant paying income taxes on the employer-paid portion of their own health care benefits?

We doubt it. Americans are already unwilling to pay the full cost of the existing programs, like Medicare, Medicaid and the more recent federal drug benefit.

Those programs are already paying out way more in benefits than they are taking in.

Yet, if a public option isn't the answer, what is?

It's difficult to calculate the real "cost" of the deeply flawed system now in place. About 46 million Americans, many of whom work for a living, have no health care insurance.

Then there are those who would like to retire and would, if only they could find reasonably priced health care insurance.
Then there's the impossible-to-calculate drag imposed upon our economy by our current health care system. We wonder how many people would be willing to launch their own small business, but realize they could never afford health insurance on their own.

How many people have a great business idea but are unwilling or unable to give up their employer-sponsored health benefits to try it?

How many people stick with a job they don't like because they fear being rejected for insurance coverage by another employer over a pre-existing condition?

The lack of dependable, portable health insurance locks millions of Americans into jobs they might otherwise leave if they could only obtain reasonably priced coverage on their own.

Republicans are right in pointing out that it is difficult to imagine public and private insurance competing side-by-side. By it's very nature, a public option would be designed to take current and potential business away from private insurers.
Yet, the current system seems inequitable, inefficient, unfair and much too costly. Americans are rightly fed up with the status quo.

We hope Snowe, her fellow Republicans and the president can find a compromise that works.

This problem is too important for the usual political gridlock to prevail. 

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Mark Wrenn's picture

I guess the real solution

I guess the real solution for you, scotty-o is to get a better job and quit whining, and you will be happy your pay was cut only 10%. Now put your name tag back on, the fries are done.

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
Winston Churchill

RONALD RIML's picture

Barb; Theodore Roosevelt


Theodore Roosevelt also wanted a single payer system. What did that make him???
When I was a young Sailor - I drank like a Sailor, fought like a Sailor, and screwed like a Sailor. Now that I am old and wise - I have a few scars, but many fond memories.

Mark Wrenn's picture

Is that what they're telling

Is that what they're telling you over at Faux News, barb? Nobody in Washington seems to be talking about single payer. And watch out for those black helicopters.______________________

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
Winston Churchill

Mark Wrenn's picture

Guess that went right over

Guess that went right over your head, since you think 48% is a majority.______________________

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
Winston Churchill

Mark Wrenn's picture

So, bulky, enlighten me on

So, bulky, enlighten me on valid statistical sampling methods. Should it include 50% republiclowns (even though less than 24% are willing to be associated with the GOOP)?______________________

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
Winston Churchill

You called me a retard Hulk

You called me a retard Hulk I'm a Republican compared to me you look like a facist who just ate his hat enjoy.

Joe Ziehm
Lewiston ME

So Helga then that means

So Helga then that means your in support of malpractice for the hospitals to turn away and kill those who they deem unworthy of medical care; thanks.

Joe Ziehm
Lewiston ME

Reagen also knew there was

Reagen also knew there was the core belief that there would be those in the party who would use his message to their own discourse and try the learning moment on others. Which has created Helga's little own self noted biased spins on liberals. Hey Helga you cried out I put my spins on things you want to turn Reagen's own words on their side to create a impasse point? How ultra conservative with a Naziesque bent.

Joe Ziehm
Lewiston ME

Sabine Christakis's picture

Oh and on a second note. I

Oh and on a second note. I am sure Helga is not rich and neither am I or my family - we just pay our own bills. And all the others out there who do this effort have maybe less left over at the end of the month then all those needed who get free health care, food stamps and what else is out there. I just would hope that laziness would not get encouraged by our government. I agree that there are people out there in real need and I would not turn any of them away, but open your eyes who collects disability. I personally know a few who are totally capable to take a job since I see what they can work for friends for a buck on the side.

Sabine Christakis's picture

See Joe, there is the

See Joe, there is the difference. I was not a kid anymore when Reagen held his speeches. Maybe you should go to youtube and listen to some of them. You are blindfolded in your own way.

SC and Helga would turn away

SC and Helga would turn away those at the door who need it because it's easier. Just the kind of mindset which they probabally turn away from when HIV/AIDS and MS when it grips others. Because it's not their realities it's easier to turn it off like a criminal outfit just turn aside and it's not longer their to look them in the face. The grim realities are that as a future educator that is going to be my out look and the families of those who I work with. There is no turning aside or picking a side there is work that needs to be done. You call yourselves Republican on a card only. I wanted to become involved and help since seeing Jack Kemp and Reagen put together fine speeches back in the eighties when I was a kid. Turn aside, change the channel, tune out the realities, and pretend it is not there. Easier to do when it has no affective changes in your lives.

Joe Ziehm
Lewiston ME

The hospitals said they

The hospitals said they would turn away those in need of care rather then taking the mainecare and the money which is going to be due down the road. By State laws that is malpractice. In uniform by denying medical care that presents the fear that if they allow for that to happen then they will not be allowed to receive the due course of pay which more viable candidates with a higher paying HMO can afford. Tell me again Helga and SC you say your to rich you don't care for anyone but yourselves. Makes it easier that way kind of reminds me of a hidden Kremlin agenda in the Conservatives house.

Joe Ziehm
Lewiston ME

Sabine Christakis's picture

Oh Joe trust me, I know the

Oh Joe trust me, I know the struggle of paying for health care. How dare you to make comments like this if you have no idea on how we live and what we have to put up with. Since I was laid of our family has NO health care which means to take care of medical bills on our own. We are still to "rich" to get government help. I speak here for all the people who are willing to pay their own costs and have to do so. There is so much abuse of the system that people who really need it, like the ones with terminal illnesses, can't get the care they need. This health plan proposal does not help the working people at all and not to forget, those are the ones who pay for it all.

This shows the expression of

This shows the expression of how much harder it is for businesses to want to support it. Have to give the Journal credit for printing that letter from LaBonte who proves worthless on societal questions of taking care of fellow Mainers at the cost of a few dollars here and there from the pay check. Macmac and SC don't really care because it's not their struggles to support those with HIV or MS who can't afford the health care or the treatments. If it sounds tough it has to be LaBonte proved himself as a worthless hole in the hole type of Comissioner who let it be known won't be coming through for the people of Maine.

Joe Ziehm
Lewiston ME

Dan McKay's picture

higher taxes, fewer choices.

higher taxes, fewer choices. how much longer do we put all our faith in our government to provide "quality of life" I will settle for liberty and "the pursuit of happiness"

Sabine Christakis's picture

Take it from the rich and

Take it from the rich and give it to the poor.... All who have health care from their employers will pay taxes on it, which means you pay more - period. All who don't have health care from employment can get it free? This is sooooooo fair ........... not

Mark Wrenn's picture

In a NY Times/CBS poll 2

In a NY Times/CBS poll 2 weeks ago, 57% said they are willing to pay higher taxes so all Americans could have health insurance, and 72% favor having a gov't plan to compete with private insurers. ______________________

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
Winston Churchill


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