Public Option Kills Private Insurance

(This post was originally posted 8/12/19)

(Author’s note: As we enter the last few weeks of the presidential campaign, there are several campaign issues which have been previously addressed in this blog. These include Medicare for All, single-payer healthcare, socialism, school choice and others. In the next few weeks I will be re-posting many of my previous posts on these issues as a review for voters. For this limited time I will be posting five days a week instead of the usual twice a week. These earlier posts will be intermingled with new posts on current topics.)


Former Vice President Joe Biden thinks you’ve forgotten all the broken promises of ObamaCare. In an attempt to distinguish himself from the rest of the Democratic presidential candidates, he’s polishing up his old lines from the Obama – Biden days and hoping you won’t notice.

Biden recently repeated the biggest lie of the Obama presidency – the one Politifact called “the lie of the year.” You remember, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” He wants you to believe his healthcare plan will deliver what the Obama plan never did.

What’s more, he wants you to believe, again, in the “Public Option.” That’s the same idea that was voted down by the Democratic Congress of President Obama. But Uncle Joe still thinks it’s a good idea.

Scott W. Atlas, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says Joe is wrong, again. Even though 57% of Americans reject the idea of eliminating private health insurance, Biden wants to do just that – but in a sneaky way. Rather than admit up front his plan will eliminate private health insurance, he wants to push the “Public Option” – which will achieve the same ultimate result.

Atlas says, “Government insurance options mainly erode, or “crowd out,” private insurance, rather than provide coverage to the uninsured. Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist credited with designing ObamaCare, showed in 2007 that when government insurance expands, six people go off private insurance for every 10 people who go on public insurance.

For example, in Hawaii, only seven months after offering Keiki Care in 2008, the country’s only statewide universal child health insurance, the state ended its optional program. Some 85% of those who signed up already had private insurance. Those costs were suddenly shifted to the taxpayers.

The Public Option would cause premiums for private insurance to skyrocket because of underpayment by government insurance compared with costs for services. According to the American Hospital Association, annual underpayment by Medicare and Medicaid surged to nearly $76.8 billion in 2017, nearly doubling once ObamaCare’s regulations came into play. That resulted in an increase in private insurance premiums of more than $1500 per family.

A Public Option is a slow, but steady, path to single-payer healthcare – socialized medicine. It will guarantee the government will eventually control all healthcare.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board puts it this way: “Joe Biden’s new healthcare plan is supposed to show his moderation, not that this is a virtue to progressives. Hence the back and forth this week between Mr. Biden and Bernie Sanders about single payer. But cut through the spin, and the only debate Democrats are having is whether to eliminate private health insurance in one blow or on the installment plan.”

If you go back to the days before ObamaCare, it was clear that Democratic leaders including Obama, Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid were all in favor of single-payer systems. The only reason they didn’t push for it then was they didn’t have the votes even in their own party. They knew the country wasn’t ready for it.

Therefore, they pushed through ObamaCare and hoped it would fail, thereby setting the stage for a single-payer solution to the crisis. Today’s Democrats now think their time has come. Biden hopes to appear like the moderate in this scenario but he’s really just pushing the same agenda by another name.