Monday, August 17, 2009

Public health insurance option: not the essential element


A public health insurance option offered by the U.S. government is not the essential element in this healthcare reform debate. Both President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seem to be on the same page on this issue. However, Former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, a physician and a former presidential candidate, argues that "A public option is the only way to guarantee health care for all Americans and its inclusion is non-negotiable." He has a petition here: http://standwithdrdean.com/

My gut tells me that we will eventually see a public insurance option here in the U.S.A. It's inevitable. I think that a public insurance plan will reflect many of the good and bad elements seen in Medicare and Medicaid. Sadly, I also think that many U.S. physicians will choose not to accept this new government-sponsored public health insurance option. Therefore, its real value may be in hospital admissions, ER visits, etc. I really hope I'm wrong and that most physicians choose to accept the public insurance option so that patients can receive medical care. Otherwise, the "in network" provider list will be awfully short.

If we really have the best health insurance in the world, what good is that fact if so many people don't have access to it? To view the CNN story that covers this issue, click here.

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