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Argument: Conservatives fear successful public plan undermines their arguments

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Paul Waldman. "The Public Option and the Hope of Health Care Reform". American Prospect. December 23, 2008: "Republicans fear that the public option would work, and therefore undermine their broader arguments about the evil of government and the perfection of the market (and make voters thankful to Democrats to boot). All true. The insurance companies fear that the public option would work, and therefore put them out of business. Is that true? Not really. Although there are a lot of variables, a much more likely outcome would be that the insurance companies would continue to exist, but their business would shrink. If we're smart and lucky, we might end up with a system resembling the one they have in France (rated by the World Health Organization as the world's best), where basic health insurance is provided by the government, but most people have supplemental private insurance to fill in the gaps in coverage (the Prospect's Ezra Klein has helpfully laid out the basics of the French system here and here). That kind of hybrid system would still allow "choice,", yet cover everyone and hold down costs."

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