Letter: Public option not a solution to health care costs
January 29, 2019
There's legislation to create a public option for health care coming down the pipeline at the Capitol, and everyone should be aware of its consequences.
Proponents say they want to increase competition in areas that have only one insurance provider, and in doing so, lower costs. The problem is that the insurance provider would be the state government, and taxpayers would likely be left footing the bill. Government-run programs aren't known for their quality or ability to stay within budget — what's supposed to make us believe this one will be different?
We can look at Obamacare to see what happens when the government gets intertwined with health care by regulating private insurance. In the past decade, government regulations on health care have pushed private insurance providers out of the market. We can look at what's happening with Medicaid as another example — it's costing way more than projected, and doctors are leaving the system because they aren't reimbursed for the full cost of treatment.
Forcing competition that public option advocates will insert into communities will, in all likelihood, end up pushing the last private insurance providers out.
So what can we do to make health care costs more reasonable and encourage competition in the marketplace? We should apply for state innovation waivers to lessen overburdensome regulations, which would increase true competition. Our health system needs to utilize telemedicine more — especially in rural areas. We need to allow nurse practitioners to do more. We need greater transparency. But more than anything, we need bipartisan legislators working together on how we can truly lower costs and increase quality. A public option is not the solution.
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