Sorry, Republicans: The CBO Hasn't Given the Public Plan a Price Tag Yet

Republicans who oppose the government-run "public option" in health insurance, including Ohio Rep. John Boehner and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, have been repeating that it's a bad idea because the Congressional Budget Office has slapped it with a high price tag. But although the CBO did score drafts of two health reform bills recently, neither included a public plan for scoring. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of reasons to be skeptical of a public option: It could end up creating a bloated, government-backed health-care monopsony that blunts medical innovation by sticking to stingy provider payments; or it might end up unwieldy and fantastically expensive if cost-control measures fail and political pressures force it to shell out for any and every imaginable procedure. Over the long run, it's very likely that it would significantly reduce competition amongst insurers. So wariness about the public plan is warranted, but opponents need to be careful not to pull the CBO over to their side before it's actually weighed in.

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  • ||

    Boehner and Graham pulling the fear card from their asses? Naaaaa. They wouldn't do that.

  • ||

    Look. If Al Gore can make shit up out of whole cloth in order to support his positions (and he admits it), then it's only fair for others to do the same.

  • Xeones||

    Politicians make shit up to support their positions, film at 11.

  • ||

    Here's how libertarians and conservatives might be able to kill Obamacare with a few charts. Just show what Medicare (and any other government-run health plan) was supposed to cost over the years, and what it actually ended up costing.

    Another idea: since D.C. is run by the feds, have them run it there for five years first as a test. Then if it's successful, we roll out the same plan to all members of Congress and all employees of the federal government. If that goes well, we roll it out for all employees of state and local governments. Finally, when all the bugs are worked out, we roll it out for everybody else.

  • ||

    What? Test something on a small case first? Are you crazy? We need it now, now, now! We're all going to die without it!

  • Rich||

    Anyway, DC is not a representative (sorry) sample.

  • ||

    I second PapayaSF's proposal. I would be willing to compromise by allowing them to roll it out for DC and all government employees simultaneously. That's a sizable fraction of the workforce (the government employees) and a nice little pilot project of the dysfunctional and unemployable (uninsured/underinsured DC residents).

    The public option, of course, would need to be the only government-provided health benefit for their employees, although they would be allowed to buy supplemental coverage out of their own pockets.

    If its not good enough for them, why should it be good enough for us?

  • Tricky Prickears||

    Instead of a public plan, how about if the Federal government just fills up everyone's healthcare savings accounts with DOE grant monies?

  • Paul||

    "Expanding coverage is easy compared to controlling healthcare costs. Nobody has to give much up to expand coverage, but in controlling cost there will always be losers." --Nancy Turnbull, Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector board member and associate dean at the Harvard School of Public Health.

    'nuff said.

  • Paul||

    I second PapayaSF's proposal.

    I don't support Papaya's proposal, because it will epic fail.

    The balooning costs are used to tout success with public plans and their proponents. To wit:

    Once the NHS was introduced, it did prove to be popular with most people. 95% of all of the medical profession joined the NHS. In fact, the NHS proved to be too popular as it quickly found that its resources were being used up. From its earliest days, the NHS seemed to be short of money. Annual sums put aside for treatment such as dental surgery and glasses were quickly used up. The £2 million put aside to pay for free spectacles over the first nine months of the NHS went in six weeks. The government had estimated that the NHS would cost £140 million a year by 1950. In fact, by 1950 the NHS was costing £358 million.



    http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/national_health_service.htm

    Basically, "We had no idea how many people needed us! Proof that we didn't go far enough!"

    This wouldn't be a bug in the eyes of the public plan proponent, but a feature.

  • monkey on juice||

    I don't suppose any one of the morons pushing this has bothered to ask Wen Jaibow if the Chinese want to lend us another trillion bucks or so.

    I mean, its not like they aren't already worried about us inflating away the trillion in US debt they already hold.

  • Paul||

    I don't suppose any one of the morons pushing this has bothered to ask Wen Jaibow if the Chinese want to lend us another trillion bucks or so.

    The Chinese are getting hinky on our credit worthiness. And really, who can blame them?

  • Paul||

    The good news, though, for those paranoid about the Chicom military threat, we're going to owe them (and the rest of the world) so goddamned much money, they wouldn't dare drop so much as a firecracker on us, let alone any real bombs because they're going to want to preserve their investment.

  • ||

    I don't support Papaya's proposal, because it will epic fail.

    That's kind of the point, Paul. We know it will fail horribly, but we would rather that the failure occur in a pilot program, with government employees and DC residents as the guinea pigs.

  • Paul||

    No, RC, I know the plan will epic fail, I mean precisely what Papaya was referring to: Our libertarian plan to "kill" Obamacare. That's what will fail.

    Of course Obamacare will fail, what I mean is pointing out the assploding costs of Medicare and other government plans is the equivalent of telling the Obamanauts how great Medicare and other government plans are.

  • ||

    Summary for the political newbie...

    Republicans: The Healthcare Plan will be expensive.
    Democrats: Liar! The CBO hasn't issued a price yet!

  • Gimpy||

    Brandybuck

    Thanks for your clarity.

  • Mike Laursen||

    One thing liberals never consider is that a government health care system is going to be controlled by a Republican administration about half the time. Republicans, as in those guys who oppose abortion and oppose contraceptives for teenagers.

  • ||

    Mike Laursen, that's silly. Now that the people have chosen the messiah and he delivers his magical unlimited free healthcare, they will never go back to the Satanic republicans.

    We'll then see the repeal of the 22nd amamndment and BO will be so sure of being reelected that we'll just dispense with bothering with silly old elections. I mean, why bother?

    Of course after he solves the problem of guaranteeing that every single booboo that anyone ever gets is treated the people will expect him to make it so they live forever.

  • Mike Laursen||

    We'll then see the repeal of the 22nd amamndment and BO will be so sure of being reelected that we'll just dispense with bothering with silly old elections. I mean, why bother?

    Oh, you definitely want to keep having elections, so that the common folk feel they have power. What you want to do is fix the results.

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