- The Washington Times - Friday, November 13, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I read with interest Jennifer Haberkorn’s recent piece “Public option in health bill, Reid says” (Page 1, Oct. 27). The states’ ability to “opt out” of the public option is the type of idea that later will grow into hundreds of pages that no one will read or understand.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s latest flight of ideas is merely a clumsy ploy to include the public option in the health care reform bill. We can be sure, however, that the public option will not apply to Congress or federal employees.

In time, the public option will completely crowd out the private insurance market. For proof of this, one need only study Medicare parts A and B. There are no private insurance policies available to compete with these two public plans. One only has a choice of private supplemental insurance to make up for the payment shortfalls of parts A and B. Medicare Advantage Plans, which include health-maintenance organizations (HMOs), are offered by private companies. These private plans follow a different practice model and will be gutted under several proposals and eventually eliminated.

The public option makes one think of public housing. In order to alter this impression, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested changing the name to “consumer option.” Has anyone recently spotted a swine with lipstick wandering around on Capital Hill?

GEORGE J. SCHONHOLTZ

Potomac

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