Public Option Pivotal to Health Reform: Reich
Obama can't give in to critics
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 24, 2009 10:55 AM CDT
President Barack Obama walks on stage as he is introduced before delivering remarks on health care reform at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, Monday, June 15, 2009, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – As wrangling over health care reform drags on, President Obama is putting the idea of a public option on the back burner. But public competition would drive private plans to offer better, less expensive care, cutting the massive costs that are hindering progress, writes Robert Reich in the Wall Street Journal. In fact, “the choice people make between private plans and a public one is likely to function as a check on both.”

The for-profit interested parties fear the public option “would squeeze their profits and force them to undertake major reforms. That's the whole point,” Reich notes. Those concerned that a public plan would be government subsidized “have their facts wrong”: Subsidies would go to families, not to the plan. Some worry a public option would really mean a government health care takeover. But that’s not true: “It’s an option. No one has to choose it.”