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Argument: Public insurance option is less costly overall than private insurance

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Supporting quotations

Ezra Klein. "Co-Ops as an Alternative to the Public Plan." Washington Post. August 19, 2009: "The theory of the public option relies on the insights of the single-payer folks and the demonstration of Medicare, not to mention foreign systems: A robust public insurer can do a better job holding down costs and delivering access to high-quality care than a fractured private insurance system."

"Why The Public Health Insurance Option Is Worth Fighting For". Think Progress. August 19th, 2009: "Real health care reform that includes a new public health insurance option could adopt the kind of payment reforms that would start to “hold down long-term growth in health spending” and encourage providers to deliver care more efficiently. We know that premiums in the public option would be about 10 percent lower and that a real robust plan that piggy backs off of Medicare’s infrastructure could save us somewhere between $75 billion and $150 billion over 10 years."

Reed Abelson. "A Health Plan for All and the Concerns It Raises". New York Times. March 24, 2009: "The main selling point for a government-run program would be its low cost. It would have a much lower overhead than private plans, with no need to make a profit or spend money on marketing or brokers’ commissions. And, if allowed to flex its muscle, the government would buy medical care at much lower prices.

Bryan Dowd, a health policy expert at the University of Minnesota, is critical of private insurers but does not necessarily favor a government plan. He agrees that the private insurers will never be able to match the steep discounts the government can demand. “If discount-getting is all you do, a large public plan is always going to clean your clock,” he said."

Tom Daschle. "A public plan will reduce costs and improve access". Newsweek. May 2, 2009: "You steal second by recognizing that virtually every objective study has concluded that it will reduce cost in the system—for everyone. The Commonwealth Fund, one of the most respected foundations in the country, recently reported that employer premiums could be substantially lowered with the choice of a public health-insurance plan; a typical American family could save nearly $1,000 a year in reduced premiums alone. If containing costs is one of our biggest goals, how can we not do this?"

Jacob Hacker. "The case for public plan". The Institute for America's Future: "COST-CONTROL ADVANTAGES OF PUBLIC INSURANCE. It is often assumed that private health plans are much more efficient than public health insurance. Yet a range of studies demonstrate that public insurance is able to provide a given level of benefits for less than they would cost through private insurance. Lower administrative costs and the ability to bargain for lower service and drug prices chiefly explain this advantage, as does the obvious lack of a profit margin in public programs. These features of public insurance not only allow it to offer the same coverage for less than private plans. They also, the evidence suggests, allow it to better restrain the increase in costs over time while preserving inclusive coverage."

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