AP: Public Option Will Only Cover 2% of Americans

The Associated Press reports that number crunching shows that only 2% of Americans under age 65 will receive health insurance under the public option proposed in the House bill.

The Democratic health care bills would extend coverage to the uninsured by providing government help with premiums and prohibiting insurers from excluding people in poor health or charging them more. But to keep from piling more on the federal deficit, most of the uninsured will have to wait until 2013 for help. Even then, many will have to pay a significant share of their own health care costs.


According to the Congressional Budget Office:

The budget office estimated that about 6 million people would sign up for the public option in 2019, when the House bill is fully phased in. That represents about 2 percent of a total of 282 million Americans under age 65. (Older people are covered through Medicare.)

The overwhelming majority of the population would remain in private health insurance plans sponsored by employers. Others, mainly low-income people, would be covered through an expanded Medicaid program.

Most people won't have access to the public option plan:

Under the House bill, it would be offered through new insurance exchanges open only to those who buy coverage on their own or work for small companies. Yet even within that pool of 30 million people, only 1-in-5 would take the public option.

The public option may not turn out to be cheaper:

The budget office said "a less healthy pool of enrollees" would probably be attracted to the public option, drawn by the prospect of looser rules on access to specialists and medical services.

As a result, premiums in the public plan would be higher than the average for private plans. That could nudge healthy middle-class workers and their families to sign up for private plans.

Insurance companies don't care about the CBO numbers. They still oppose the public option:

While a government plan might start out modestly, insurers fear that Congress could change the rules later, opening it up to all people and setting take-it-or-leave payments for hospitals and medical providers, instead of negotiating, as the House bill calls for.

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    If it is so insignificant (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:10:05 PM EST
    then why does the health insurance industry oppose it so?

    With all due respect Jeralyn, quoting the AP on this is silly.

    The CBO report says what happens when the program is first put into place (BTW, 6 million people is nothing to sneeze at). What happens over time is what matters.

    When the maon source for a story (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:12:26 PM EST
    is the insurance industry flack group Kaiser, you should know not to rely on its takeaway. This is what the health insurance industry wants you to think:

    "Some experts are wondering if lawmakers have wasted too much time arguing about the public plan, giving short shrift to basics such as ensuring that new coverage will be affordable.
    "The public option is a significant issue, but its place in the debate is completely out of proportion to its actual importance to consumers," said Drew Altman, president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "It has sucked all the oxygen out of the room and diverted attention from bread-and-butter consumer issues, such as affordable coverage and comprehensive benefits."

    The NON PARTISAN Kaiser Family foundation? Unbelievable.


    Speaking for YOU only (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:13:42 PM EST
    is this post.

    I disagree with your posting this insurance industry propaganda.


    I posted it to get readers reactions (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:03:43 PM EST
    as to the content. It's supposed to be a news story and it seemed askew to me, as in biased. But I didn't want to influence anyone so I didn't comment on it, I figured others like you would weigh in.

    And it's worthwhile to expose a news article that is not a news article because it's one sided. The AP is supposed to be a trusted news source. If or when it's not, people should know about it.


    Jeralyn, you are the essence of cool, (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:16:00 PM EST
    calm, and collected.  Kudos.

    Seems clear to me the only means... (none / 0) (#56)
    by Salo on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 05:06:05 PM EST
    ...of providing less expensive care is to create a public plan of some sort. This commentator from Kaiser is a dissembler on the face of it.

    If it has to start small because of political convenience then so be it.  Eventually it'll strangle the private insurers profits. See the relationship between Lloyd George's National Insurance planning in 1920 ( small starts) and then jump to how Bevan finished it in the 1940s.


    Kaiser Unbiased? (none / 0) (#75)
    by norris morris on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 08:18:03 PM EST
    There can't be credibility about anything from Kaiser.  They have hardly been ahead of the curve on working towards a robust public option, and what is being considered is a total scam.

    It simply delivers millions of unwilling victims into the hands of Insurance Monopoly.


    I'll have to pay 13% of my income.... (none / 0) (#78)
    by NealB on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 08:53:45 PM EST
    ...for health insurance. If I make $44,000 a year, my health insurance bill will be ~$475 a month! Out of my total after-tax income of about ~$3,300. My rent/mortgage/property taxes takes off another ~$1,200. That leaves me with about $500 a week to make ends meet (gas/electric, food/clothing, transportation, auto/life insurance, phone/cable bills, interest on debt, etc.).

    Bottom line: I won't have anything left to for out-of-pocket health costs: dental visits, annual checkups, glasses. I'll be forced to pay $475 a month for health insurance, but I won't be able to afford health care.


    Some uninsured folks are already (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by nycstray on Sun Nov 01, 2009 at 10:33:52 AM EST
    in that situation. Why do you think they don't have insurance?

    And, so many of the (none / 0) (#88)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Nov 01, 2009 at 11:50:50 AM EST
    insured can't actually afford healthCARE.

    It's very disturbing that Obama (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 01, 2009 at 11:04:05 AM EST
    would not fight for a robust public option when I read your income figures.  This administration and the village is soooooo divorced from reality.  I was certain that Republicans had lost their minds ages ago, had no idea that nobody else in the village was even slightly more mindful.

    Nothing new in this. What's the point? (none / 0) (#79)
    by NealB on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 09:44:30 PM EST

    It's such old news, it's off topic. (none / 0) (#80)
    by NealB on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 09:45:10 PM EST
    Probably should be deleted.

    Although Kaiser is an HMO. (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:14:13 PM EST
    I thought they were 2 different (none / 0) (#19)
    by nycstray on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:55:34 PM EST
    things, as in unrelated?

    No idea. Must google. (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:58:19 PM EST
    Foundation is no longer connected (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:04:40 PM EST
    with other Kaiser enterprises per Wiki.  link

    They have been de jure separated (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:59:13 PM EST
    But the Kaiser Foundation money came from insurance industry money.

    But beyond that, they are part of the anti-public option movement - albeit in the Village Wonkery mold.

    The intent is clear - why won't those DFHs shut up about the public option?


    Chill. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Fabian on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:29:27 PM EST
    Kaiser partnered with the Are You Covered series with NPR which was an informative look at what the current health care options are.

    It was nice to hear about real people instead of the horse race analysis that I'm sure cable news was using in their coverage of HRC.


    Kaiser Permanente HMO (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:57:18 PM EST
    and Kaiser Foundation who was involved in the NPR series are not the same thing.  Separate entities.  No more to do with one another than either with Kaiser Wilhelm.

    That's wrong (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:00:01 PM EST
    The foundation's money came from the Kaiser family. they have separated themselves from it.

    So I gather. Thx. <n/t> (none / 0) (#41)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:19:20 PM EST
    Chill your self (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:48:26 PM EST
    Dan Altman is part of the who cares about PO  village Wonks crowd.

    Here he does the bidding of the health insurance industry.

    What part of this discussion have you missed?


    I agree with BTD (none / 0) (#54)
    by Salo on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 04:59:21 PM EST
    No matter how small a Public Option (Government Run Health Insurance/Care) is at first-- it'll grow.

    What the bill offers isn't perhaps the "socialist millenium" but rather  What Lloyd George did in the 1920s by designing a National Insurance system-it started small pitifully so but it grew.  It was eventually surpassed by the superior public service of the NHS reforms under Nye Bevan but George's reform were a positive step forward toward the goal of single payer/national coverage.  


    You left out WWII (none / 0) (#61)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 05:33:07 PM EST
    which had far more to do with the development of the NHS than any other individual or event or entity.

    We got the Wars! (none / 0) (#63)
    by Salo on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 06:20:40 PM EST

    I think that you may specifically mean that the UK had universal manhood conscription as a war measure and that blew open the doors of the class based oligarchy of the Tory years.   Working men fighting for a system worthy of their sacrifice.

    The US had WW2 and went in a very different direction under somewhat similar conditions.


    No (none / 0) (#89)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Nov 01, 2009 at 04:56:10 PM EST
    I mean that the evacuation of civilians from the cities to the countryside left local docs swamped and the government stepped in to set up medical services for the population.  That's where it really started.  You should read up on this.  It's really pretty fascinating.

    So you're saying we have to wait 50 years... (none / 0) (#70)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 07:27:43 PM EST
    ... and have a world war?

    CalPERS provides health benefits to (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:12:53 PM EST
    1.6 mil.  Very effectively.  Big hammer.

    Perhaps it's a negotiation tactic? (none / 0) (#10)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:41:30 PM EST
    Keeping the Overton Window nailed firmly shut right where it is?

    Possibly a distraction?


    Because big corporations are never happy with just (none / 0) (#15)
    by BDB on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:50:35 PM EST
    98% of what they want, they always want the full 100% and keep fighting for it even if they'd be perfectly happy with the 98%.  Something progressives and liberals have yet to learn how to do.

    And it is mostly a show by the insurers, occasionally, they've let the facade drop and admitted that they're essentially okay with the public option.   But if they did that and dropped their opposition, then people might figure out that it isn't going to do very much and that might lead to actual reform, which you can bet insurers are against.

    Having said that, the AP totally sucks.


    Kidding yourself (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:53:13 PM EST
    they are out to kill the Public Option because it is the only worthwhile reform in the proposal.

    The money is good, the tax on wealthy individual is good. But that is not reform.


    I'm kidding myself? (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by BDB on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:07:03 PM EST
    I think they're out to kill the public option because their life is easier and more profitable without it.  Although it appears that the insurers will at least set up, if not run, the public option, so I'm not sure it's all that bad for them.

    But I do not kid myself into believing that a government that just gave trillions of dollars to Wall Street (including a Congress that is censoring any non-financial entity representatives regarding pending regulation legislation) and struck a deal to protect Big Pharma is going to ever enact any piece of legislation that will do any serious damage to insurance companies.  Instead, what is passing is a regressive tax that transfers wealth from Americans to insurers while doing virtually nothing to control costs.  Now, do I hope that something good (which, IMO, would have to be unanticipated and unexpected by our "betters") if it passes, of course.  But I'm not counting on it.  Because I cannot name a single big piece of legislation passed by this Democratic Congress that sides with people over business interests.  And this isn't going to be the first, with or without the "public option".

    But this won't be the end, because when people realize how badly they've been screwed, they're going to be very, very angry.  

    I do agree that the AP story is trying to kill the public option, but that the insurance industry cares about this anemic "reform" is just proof, IMO, that they've already won on everything they truly care about.  


    Wow (none / 0) (#35)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:01:08 PM EST
    Is that your standard for facts and analysis ("it appears that the insurers will at least set up, if not run, the public option") a cynically speculative comment on somebody's blog?

    The original source (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:17:54 PM EST
    was the Washington Post:


    Second paragraph under the "Frustrating to Some" heading.

    I will say that both of our Washington State "Public" plans (Washington Basic Health and Washington State (High Risk) Insurance Pool") are administered by private insurance companies.  Since Washington state seems to be one one of Congresses "models" for health insurance, I don't see why they would handle the "public option" (yuk-yuk) any differently.

    And BTW, our "Basic Health" is currently full and not accepting applications.  I believe this is the road the "public option" would also go.


    It is when the comment (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by BDB on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:31:15 PM EST
    is from Kip Sullivan, who has been working to reform healthcare for decades.  And when it's directed at HCAN's paid consultant who then refuses to answer, saying he's not interested?  Kind of telling as far as I'm concerned.  

    I'd have looked for more (and thanks for the WaPo link), but I'm kind of tired of educating people about the facts of the healthcare bill because so many people on both sides insist on lying, misstating and omitting (not you, more "official" sources).  I believe Chris Floyd best summed up the healthcare "debate" when he said one side is lying and the other isn't telling the truth.  It's freaking exhausting.


    Camel's nose and all that, (none / 0) (#44)
    by ChiTownDenny on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:37:54 PM EST
    still can't figure out how costs are reduced....

    I get the feeling (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by Fabian on Sun Nov 01, 2009 at 09:22:30 AM EST
    that BTD is unhappy because someone just pointed out how little of the camel's nose made it into the tent.  

    The "camel's nose" theory is good and all, but in reality you need a mechanism for getting both the camel's nose into the tent, for keeping it there and to allow the rest of the camel into the tent.  


    "Wow." No, based on study of the bill (none / 0) (#65)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 07:17:07 PM EST
    as opposed to pure ignorance. If you're not clear on the difference, do feel free to contact me via private mail.

    * * *

    E.g. And, as pointed out above, WaPo.


    Big Insurance/Big Pharma (none / 0) (#76)
    by norris morris on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 08:26:48 PM EST
    We have been sold out on Big Pharma as Obama made his deal months ago.  $80 billion for 10 years for Pharma.  They're covered.

    The sellout is now entering its complete denouement when I hear more and more about this 1900 pages of nothing.

    So, years from now a really few people will get to pay [probably more]?

    This is not what Hillary Clinton had in mind, and it's far from what Obama assured us he was going to accomplish.  This is a mirage.


    Of course, simply because ... (none / 0) (#84)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Nov 01, 2009 at 05:54:00 AM EST
    the Health Insurance industry opposes it doesn't mean it's a good thing.

    They will oppose anything that disrupts the status quo.

    A so-called "public option" could expand into something really good.  Or it could become a boon to insurance companies.  None of the plans are designed well enough for us to be sure yet.

    This whole debate has been rigged by the Health Insurance Industry.  None of the options hurt them dramatically.  Most help them in certain ways.  And they still get to side with the status quo.

    While the only idea which has vast public support (medicare for all) has never gotten a fair hearing.

    I support a public option.  But I know it's a crappy idea.  And it's no surprise that anyone, including the Insurance Industry, can reveal some of its crappiness.    


    Does the AP think this is breaking news? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:11:30 PM EST
    If so, why hasn't AP been paying attention?

    Kaiser hardly the worst of the worst (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:46:20 PM EST
    The Kaiser Foundation isn't equal to Kaiser; McClatchy user them, and McClatchy's a lot better than AP; and heck, FDL had a paid HCAN't staffer posing as a blogger for a good long while. So I'm not sure, anymore, what standards there are to appeal to.

    That said, although I try not to cite Kaiser, the 2% figure is well in line with other estimates, including Obama's in The Greatest Health Care Speech EVAH.

    So why the outrage? One can hardly avoid suspecting the outrage is purely tactical, and therefore to be dismissed on those grounds.

    If you think Kaiser Foundation (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:49:28 PM EST
    is your friend, then you must love Ezra Klein.

    Did I say that? (none / 0) (#45)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:46:49 PM EST
    Let me answer.

    No. Thanks for confirming my views with your non-response.


    It is the start of a program (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:10:17 PM EST
    Which can be shaped to meet the needs of the people. I can't think of one program we haven't touched to meet emerging needs.

    I would be heartbroken (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Steve M on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:14:14 PM EST
    if the Democratic Party passed a program that would only help a few million Americans to start out.  They'd definitely lose my vote!  No different from the Republicans, except as far as those millions of people are concerned, I guess.

    But I also agree that this is a guess and a pretty pessimistic one.  In addition, the business about how the public option would be more expensive than private insurance is rhetorical sleight of hand.  It actually says nothing about whether the public option would succeed in making insurance cheaper.

    I'm Already Heartbroken (none / 0) (#77)
    by norris morris on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 08:39:04 PM EST
    This fiasco called HRC is sickening.

    Democrats have acted like political snakes protecting their skin. Obama has soldout on Big Pharma and made his deal which is a bad one for us.

    The rest is an illusion and a twisted one at that.

    Obama was the first to fold, then waited in the wings for cover. Most maddeningly his speech blessing Snowe as important to bi-partisanship
    was an opportunistic attempt towards pretending  a magical non existent bi-partisan reality really exists.


    Joe says he feels relevant now (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:33:49 PM EST
    It must have been hard sitting there watching Olympia get to be so relevant.

    I guess I'm not really sure why the low (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Anne on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 04:39:20 PM EST
    coverage numbers are a surprise to anyone, considering that this was always one of the objections to what was being proposed, even before there were actual bills in both the House and Senate.  Nor do I understand why there is any surprise that, even with those low numbers, the insurance industry is still bad-mouthing it.

    It may, however, be coming as a surprise to Average Joe and Jane, who have allowed themselves - courtesy, to a great extent, of the abysmal job the media has done of covering the legislation - to be bamboozled into thinking that a "public option" would be open to, well,  everyone.  I mean, even members of Congress cannot explain with any accuracy or honesty what the public option is and isn't - and they're the ones who created it.

    This kind of reporting is about six months too late, but then, isn't this pretty much the pattern?  Wait until something is all but a done deal and then tell us about the problems and flaws that were there all along?  Is it now the job of the media to cheerlead for what it looks like we're going to end up with?  

    As for the insurance industry, they're still pushing back because there's still time to "fix" some of the things they object to when the House and Senate bills go to conference - they're not going to shut up until the last dog dies, for crying out loud; why would they, when all their squeaking up to this point has been rewarded with a lot more "grease" than they deserved - why not go for more?

    It's still our job to fight for more, too, to squeak and screech and make as much noise as we can, in the hope that we get more of what we want.

    It's still "game on," or at least it should be, but if too many people resign themselves to "game over," the anti-reform forces will win.

    I have never handed out a 1 before, (4.00 / 3) (#50)
    by steviez314 on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 04:11:21 PM EST
    but when you manage to compare Obama to the Nazis and progressives to the Jews AND throw in a blood-libel charge to boot, well, that's just a doubleheader I cannot ignore.

    I find your post disgusting.

    that post was deleted as (none / 0) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 05:31:58 PM EST
    off topic. The topic is the health care bill, not Obama. Personal attacks on him for reasons other than the health care bill are off topic.

    That's not a triple-header? (none / 0) (#66)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 07:18:28 PM EST
    Having myself recently failed to count up to 6 correctly, I want to be sure ;-)

    LOL n/t (none / 0) (#82)
    by NYShooter on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 11:35:24 PM EST
    Whats happened is we've (1.00 / 1) (#55)
    by SOS on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 05:04:48 PM EST
    allowed Corporations to cultivate way to much power.

    They've been buying everyone out for decades. Boomers have been feathering their nests by selling their business to these to big to fail company's . . naive, ignorant, and greedy but it's to late now.

    What we have is Corporatism

    Kucinich says 3% (none / 0) (#8)
    by trillian on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:32:29 PM EST
    Good questions (none / 0) (#9)
    by MO Blue on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:35:46 PM EST
    "If this is the best we can do, then our best isn't good enough and we have to ask some hard questions about our political system: such as Health Care or Insurance Care? Government of the people or a government of the corporations."

    For his purposes? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:47:06 PM EST
    Likely. He is opposed to what is happening.

    But Kucinich wants MORE focus on public insurance, not less.

    This AP story is selling the who cares about public insurance line in order to kill the PO.

    Such a simple point but apparently none of you see it.


    Agree with BTD on this (none / 0) (#17)
    by Coral on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:53:58 PM EST
    This is at best, a guess-timate, made by those strongly opposed to public option.

    My feeling is that the public option is necessary if mandates are going to be applied to individuals. It will keep the insurance companies from jacking their premiums up to sky-high rates.

    Yup. (none / 0) (#34)
    by ChiTownDenny on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:53:18 PM EST
    The math in the article doesn't add up, at least according to my old fashioned calculator.  Mandates for 30 mil people not already covered by employer or gov't., add PO to get to covering 96% of population that won't be covered by expanded Medicaid, how is that 6 million people (2% of 30)?  Either my calculator is broken or this AP peice is BS.

    Clarifying... (none / 0) (#37)
    by ChiTownDenny on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:03:50 PM EST
    Apparently 2% of approx. 300 million populace gets to the 6 million in this article.  Darn calculator. However, am I calculating that 24 mil of the 30 mil uninsured will qualify for expanded Medicaid?  My calculator is now freaking out.  Still call BS.

    You're right (none / 0) (#52)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 04:14:11 PM EST
    if it's something that everybody can choose but this appears to be severely limited to who can join much like medicare or medicaid.

    I would like to know if BTD... (none / 0) (#67)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 07:21:06 PM EST
    ... would object to information being published now that hurts [a|the] [strong|robust]? [Federalist]? public [health insurance]? [option|plan] even if he regarded the information as factual?

    Since the effect, to which he objects, would be the same?


    No, no. It was decided the other day. (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by shoephone on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 11:53:59 PM EST
    We're going for the "medium-strength public option" now.

    All hail.


    Oh. Never mind then. (none / 0) (#18)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 01:54:46 PM EST
    No harm taking it out and getting Presidents Lieberman and Snowe's votes, then, is there?

    I'll say it again - I think these estimates of 5% and 2% and whatever are going to turn out to be WAY low - as far as I can tell they depend on an optimistic estimate of how many of the currently uninsured & self-employed & very small businesses are going to prefer or even be able to find private coverage - and I just don't think that's going to happen.

    That's the purpose of the story (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:01:05 PM EST
    It galls me that it has been posted here at Talk Left.

    I guess Jeralyn is now an opponent of the public option.


    I support a strong public option (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:08:37 PM EST
    Which apparently is not the one the House chose to introduce. I am interested in learning how many people will benefit from the one that is proposed. Pointing out the flaws in an AP article as commenters here have done is helpful in my view.

    A tad instrumental, no? (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 04:08:41 PM EST
    There's just no reason to classify this as "propaganda" -- at least any moreso than AP generally.

    The enrollee numbers are a huge issue, and the public option folks have been all over the map, with the initial Hacker proposal of 130 million sold by "progressives" down  to the 10 million that CBO projects (and plenty of others, including Obama, agree with). Maggie Mahar argues for a higher number, but there are responses to that. And so forth.

    If the "left" (OK, you're a centrist) doesn't figure out how to deal with material that doesn't support their immediate policy position, then it's going to be FAIL all the way down.

    And if Jeralyn hadn't done the post, we wouldn't have had the comments thread to learn from, for pity's sake.


    I am pretty peeved about this post (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:04:12 PM EST
    And I am retreating into sports.

    See ya'll later.


    Didn't Pelosi say 36 million? (none / 0) (#25)
    by Cream City on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:02:26 PM EST
    And AP doesn't explain the difference of 30 million.  That's a big difference.  Was Pelosi's number including those over 65 already on Medicare?

    More likely Pelosi was (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:03:42 PM EST
    referring to the Medicaid expansion as well.

    I believe that she was (none / 0) (#46)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 03:54:53 PM EST
    and I'm too frazzled to sort through the new mass of PDFs to find it, but I think it's 36 million by 2019.

    Thanks to both of you (none / 0) (#59)
    by Cream City on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 05:31:55 PM EST
    for that clarification.  I'm trying to stay caught up on this, but it's a busy time -- so I caught that number the other day in her talk but lacked the context.  It seemed a lot higher than the estimates that I have read here.  

    Without TL, I'd really be lost trying to keep up on this.


    How many Americans TODAY are without (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 06:44:14 PM EST
    health insurance? With over half a million a month losing their jobs, and probably that many again expiring their unemployment insurance, how many more per month become uninsured?

    Rather than hear a number from Pelosi, I'd prefer to hear who will be the beneficiaries of this public option. Who is going to provide insurance and healthcare to the unemployed and their families?

    Is there only room for the first 36 million who apply for the public option?

    Take a walk down memory lane...what did Obama lead the people to believe he would do?


    Health Beat blog numbers (none / 0) (#33)
    by memphisj on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 02:36:35 PM EST
    The Health Beat blog by Maggie Mahar is, imho, the best source for health care info out there. There's a post on there now about the numbers covered under the house plan. It's all confusing to me but I do think her info indicates much better coverage than this story indicates: http://www.healthbeatblog.com/2009/10/who-would-be-eligible-for-a-public-option-far-more-than-10-of- the-population.html

    That link is broken (none / 0) (#48)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 04:02:09 PM EST
    Hopefully, this one is not:

    http://www.healthbeatblog.com/2009/10/who-would-be-eligible-for-a-public-option-far-more-than-10-of- the-population.html

    She's funded by The Century Foundation, but I'm not seeing any of the usual suspects on their board.

    However -- and we don't know what's in the final bill -- but the "far more than 10%" argument assumes that all those with no insurance will go on the Health Exchange. But in comments Hipparchia makes the point that the current bill funnels them into Medicaid:

    as for the 10%, there's no telling what's going to end up in the final version, but in the early versions of the legislation that were making their way through various committees, people who were uninsured but eligible for medicaid were going to be enrolled in medicaid, and not even given the alternative to buy insurance through the exchange[s]. iirc, this accounts for about 5% of the population. add to that the estimated 5% who aren't going to be able to afford insurance, even with the offered subsidies, and that subtracts out 10% of the population from the pool that is otherwise been 'eligible' for the public option.

    So, premature triumphalism...


    Why would anyone eligible for Medicaid (none / 0) (#51)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 04:13:29 PM EST
    prefer to enroll in the public option?

    I'm lost in the detail... (none / 0) (#68)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 07:24:47 PM EST
    ... but my understanding is that you can only get Medicaid if you fall below a certain level of assets. This is why you see elders shielding their houses so that nursing home costs don't consume what they'd hoped to leave to their kids.

    Also, as I understand it, you can be automatically enrolled in Medicaid.

    Maybe enrolling in whatever the so-called public option turns out to be will avoid those two scenarios. Maybe not. We have to await the final outcome of reconciliation. So don't worry. Trustworthy people are completely in charge.


    Doesn't really address my question though. (none / 0) (#71)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 07:43:44 PM EST
    Eligibility for Medicaid is expected to become more liberal.  If a person qualifies, no insurance co-pays or premiums, both of which I assume the public option would require.

    Isn't Medicaide the plan that (none / 0) (#72)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 07:45:22 PM EST
    has such a difficult time finding providers willing to take patients who are on it?

    Urban rumor? At present Medicaide (none / 0) (#73)
    by oculus on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 07:48:37 PM EST
    seems to be limited to single moms with minor kids.

    Just out of curiosity, I looked up (none / 0) (#74)
    by Anne on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 08:03:45 PM EST
    Maryland's Medicaid program, and found a website that shows there are a lot of programs, which are not limited to single mothers with kids.

    From the website sidebar:














    Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program (EID) Information

    In Maryland, there has been a concerted effort to identify and reach out to people who were not aware they could qualify for any of these programs; in the long run, it's less expensive to have people on assistance, having their medical problems handled in a timely manner, than to have them land in a hospital in medical crisis.


    Just what we needed, right? (none / 0) (#81)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 09:45:56 PM EST
    Framing universal health care as welfare.

    It's GENIUS!


    Innovative! Dynamic! New and Improved! (none / 0) (#62)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 05:56:23 PM EST
    Why didn't I think of that?
    A public option that excludes 98% of the public.
    That's impressive.

    Hey, let's be reasonable (none / 0) (#69)
    by lambert on Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 07:25:56 PM EST
    It may exclude only 90%.