President Obama is selling snake oil. The “government option” at the heart of his proposed radical restructuring of American medicine –now renamed the “public plan” to ease its acceptance by a public rightly wary of government-run anything much less the health care system they depend upon for life itself-- is a giant time-bomb intended to level the health insurance system in America.
The president and his allies in Congress know that the vast majority of Americans like their health insurance and will resist any attempt by the government to interfere with it.
So the president blandly assures everyone who will listen that the “government option/public plan” will not interfere with their current health insurance if they don’t want it to.
President Obama made that assurance last Monday before the AMA.
And he made it again in his press conference yesterday, assuring a reporter and the White House press corps assembled that “the public plan, I think, is an important tool to discipline insurance companies.”
“What we've said is,” he continued, “under our proposal, let's have a system, the same way that federal employees do, same way that members of Congress do, where we call it an exchange, but you can call it a marketplace, where, essentially, you've got a whole bunch of different plans.”
And then the kicker:
“If you like your plan and you like your doctor, you won't have to do a thing. You keep your plan; you keep your doctor. If your employer's providing you good health insurance, terrific. We're not going to mess with it.”
ABC’s Jake Tapper has been doing his homework, and when his turn came he first asked if the government option/public plan was “non-negotiable, and after the president did a bit of deflection, Tapper came right back to the core issue. The exchange is very important, so it is reproduced here at length:
TAPPER: And, while I appreciate your Spock-like language about the logic of the health care plan and the public plan, it does seem logical to a lot of people that if the government is offering a cheaper health care plan, then lots of employers will want to have their employees covered by that cheaper plan, which will not have to be for-profit, unlike private plans, and may, possibly, benefit from some government subsidies, who knows.