Maybe the President is saying to the blue dogs, "don't worry, don't worry, we'll give them a phony-baloney public option" ~ Liberal Talk Show Radio Host Thom Hartmann on his program 9/10/2009.
I've been thinking about this since last night, and it occurred to me that, while the MSNBC pundits may have thought that President Obama stated that he was in favor of a single-payer type public option being included in the healthcare reform legislation, what he actually said was that there should be a "not for profit public option available in the insurance exchange". And that this option would only be "for those who don't have insurance".
In other words, he SAID public option, but then described something that isn't a public option. Single payer means that the government is the insurer. An "insurance exchange" describes a place where the health insurance consumers can go to choose from a variety of PRIVATE plans.
David Axelrod (who appeared post-speech on the Rachel Maddow show), explained that low-income individuals would qualify for tax credits - and if they still could not afford to buy - then they could be exempted under a "hardship" provision. So the plan will NOT offer UNIVERSAL coverage - and thus will not prevent people from showing up in an emergency room after having let whatever health problem they are experiencing go untreated for to long.
And what's the deal with TAX CREDITS?? Tax credits are only of use if you actually pay taxes, number one - and secondly, just because someone gets a tax credit doesn't mean they suddenly have extra money. This is more Republican appeasement, which there seemed to be quite of bit of in the speech.
My conclusion is that while this will probably be an improvement for those in the middle class, it won't do a damn thing for poor people who can't afford insurance now.
The President also brought up MANDATES. A mandate and an extremely limited public option (possibly in name only) equal a BIG payday for the insurance companies - in my opinion.
I need to hear what Thom Hartmann thinks. That should clarify it for me if any of my fears are justified. My fear is that the President used the term "public option" but it won't be a real public option. The "not for profit" option will be administered through a private company instead of the government and only certain people will qualify.
If you have access to insurance through your employer you'll be required to take it. Even if it is not that good. Even if it stinks. Access to the "public option" will be carefully controlled. You'll have to be poor to get it, but not too poor that you can't afford it. In other words very few people will get in, thus defeating one of the main purposes of the public option, which was to keep prices down. This, in my opinion, is a fake public option. The only reason it was in the speech was to placate President Obama's liberal supporters.
People with insurance won't be subject to Recission. People with pre-existing conditions won't be denied coverage. Some people who couldn't previously afford insurance may now be able to, thanks to "tax credits". The insurance companies may be making less per person (maybe), but with insurance now mandatory, they'll make up the difference with new customers.
So, will this help everyone? Absolutely not. People will still fall through the cracks, people will still be showing up in emergency rooms without insurance, and people will still die due to lack of insurance. I can't say I'm surprised, but I also can't say that I'm not disappointed.