By Ben Cohen
Something like 97 percent coverage for people already here, at a total
cost somewhere in the $1 trillion range. Bear in mind that the Bush tax
cuts cost around $1.8 trillion over a decade. We can do this — and have
no excuse for not doing it.
Today, most Americans get their health coverage from private insurers.
A public health insurance option would create a competitor to private
insurers that could potentially drive down costs across the board. I
support the concept of a public plan, because if it's done right, it
means introducing exactly the kind of competition our system needs.
It's sad that we have to wait for the intellectual and business elite to sign off on a plan that a massive majority of Americans support, but thankfully it looks like this time, they will. In the face of gigantic economic crisis and spiraling unemployment, faith in private corporations to look after our best interests is at an all time low. Despite the Republican's insistence that we must leave the free market to solve all our problems, the public resistance to the corporate monopoly of the insurance industry is becoming ever clearer. Businesses cannot survive with rapidly increasing costs, and they know full well a public option is the only way to keep costs down. Right now, the desperate need for reform may well overwhelm entrenched private interests dedicated to stopping people getting the care they need. And that would be a real victory for progressives, and a sign that the change Obama promised may actually be real.