Posted by: Jeff | September 17, 2009

Public Option Throwdown (Part II)

The second of two parts. What is the public option? Is it a good idea? Is it critical to health care reform? Joe and I discuss so you don’t have to.

Public Option Throwdown – Part 2

Link to Part I.

References for this podcast:

Music used in this podcast:

  • “Bad Medicine” by Bon Jovi, off their album New Jersey


  1. Great two-parter, guys. Once again, good explanation of the political motivations. I do believe you were a bit heavy-handed by saying there’s no reason to block the public option other than for political purposes. I’m sure that some Congressmen really do believe (at least a small part of them) that a public option (a) starts us down a very slippery slope and/or (b) is going to be massively expensive. Yes, they want to win the political game, as well, but I think some really are against it philosophically.

    Other thoughts…
    – Conservatives argue that a public option would be extremely inefficient and expensive. They also argue that it would introduce unfair competition and put insurance companies out of business. To a certain extent, those arguments contradict each other. How can the public option be both staggeringly inefficient — and yet good enough to take down insurance companies?
    – On a related note, what does it tell us about the health insurance industry that an (almost certainly) inefficient government system would threaten them? That something must be done to encourage more affordable pricing? It tells us that health insurance companies have no financial incentive to do better…because they’re more or less monopolies in their states of operation. Gotta block the public option to save state-by-state monopolies!
    – I don’t think a single-payer option is advisable, regardless of how well it works in other countries. There should always be a private option, particularly for something like health care. You don’t want something that massive to be run by one central organization, to the exclusion of other alternatives. Health care in the US should be like the school system: default is the public option, but if people don’t like it, they can always go private by shelling out their own money.
    – I once asked my health-nut, pharmacist buddy what the solution is to our rising health care cost problem. His answer was very simple: “People should take better care of themselves.” So much of health care costs go into fixing problems that are preventable through a sensible diet and regular exercise. How many cases of heart disease and diabetes alone would be eliminated (or at least mitigated) if Americans took better care of themselves?

  2. Thanks for the comment Peter

    Don’t want to speak on behalf of Jeff, but on your last comment, I’m in full agreement about preventable problems are the root to many rising costs. American simply don’t take care of their bodies and we need extra medical care because of it. This Op-Ed in the NY Times below also comments on it. We didn’t bring it up in the podcast because we wanted to stay focused on the ‘public option’ discussion. but you should check out this article.

  3. […] Link to Part II. […]

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