More Good News for the Public Option
A new Times/CBS News poll asks the question, “Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan — something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get — that would compete with private health insurance plans?”
Sixty-five percent answered yes. Twenty-six percent answered no.
More: “[S]upport for a public option has jumped 5 points since late August and opposition to it has dropped 8 points.”
And even more: The Congressional Budget Office says that a public option plan pegged to Medicare rates saves oodles and bundles of money:
According to Congress Daily, the CBO says attaching the public plan to Medicare rates will save even more money than originally thought:
In a bid to wrangle concessions from the Blue Dog Coalition on healthcare reform, House leaders Thursday released CBO estimates for liberals’ preferred version of the public option that show $85 billion more in savings than for the version the Blue Dogs prefer.
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., a Blue Dog co-chair, said any possible new momentum toward a public option tethered to Medicare rates is, in part, “because of the cost issue” and the updated CBO score.
The original House bill required the public plan to pay providers 5 percent more than Medicare reimbursement rates. But as part of a package of concessions to Blue Dogs, the House Energy and Commerce Committee accepted an amendment that requires the HHS Secretary to negotiate rates with providers. That version of the plan will save only $25 billion.
In total, a public plan based on Medicare rates would save $110 billion over 10 years. That is $20 billion more than earlier estimates, a spokesman for House Speaker Pelosi said.
In other words, the conservatives want to spend $85 billion more than the liberals do. Moreover, the CBO is estimating savings to the government. That is to say, the $85 billion reflects reduced federal spending on subsidies because premiums in the public plan will be lower. Savings to individuals and businesses paying lower premiums will be much larger than $85 billion, and politically, much more important.
More on the above stories at Memeorandum.