Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Opt-Out is a Cop-Out

For weeks leading up to the Senate Finance vote on the Baucus Bill – that still has not been given Legislative language (thus not a bill) – the White House and leading Democrats courted the vote of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who is fighting for his political future, announced Monday that the merged bill in the Senate will have an "opt-out" public option. The very type of option that Olympia Snowe and Senate "Blue Dog" Democrats are dead set against having as an option. The move by Sen. Reid may put him in the crosshairs of the White House as the Obama Administration has used a lot of political capital to make health care reform appear to be bi-partisan.

President Obama has been campaigning and fundraising for a number of Democrats embattled for political life in the past weeks. Will the move by Sen. Reid put his biggest political chip in jeopardy by putting in a public option? Only time will tell. Having an "Opt-Out" option will negate a slew of lawsuits, well that is if State's get a backbone, as forcing States to offer further expansion of Medicare is an affront on State Rights. As I have said before in previous blog entries, health care reform is needed to curb the escalating premiums and bring cost savings within the industry itself.

The goal of President Obama is to reduce costs and increase competition. The trouble with the public option is that it does neither. To increase competition, open the borders of the states to allow insurance companies to offer coverage across state lines. Roughly 1600 insurance options exist within the borders of the United States yet the majority of states have between 2 and 5 options. Looking to Economics 101 for an answer is required. Economics 101 sales, provided the price is at equilibrium, an increase in supply, while keeping demand the same, the price will drop. So, why are that so many politicians disregard this model of Economics?

The other goal is to reduce cost. Doctors must carry expensive insurance to shield themselves from lawsuits. The malpractice insurance does not discriminate. Surgeons, specialists, and family practioneers all must carry it to protect themselves. Tort reform is required. Without Tort reform doctors will need to earn more and more money to cover the cost of malpractice insurance. So, why doesn't the Democrat led Congress include Tort reform within their health care reform platform?

We can create legislation that will not cost $.01 but Congress lacks the courage to do so while achieving the goals of health care reform. So, why doesn't Congress do it?