Public Option = Single Payer = Gov't. Monopoly
1. Among the things that people complain about under the present medical care system are the costs, insurance company bureaucrats' denials of reimbursements for some treatments and the free loaders at hospital emergency rooms whose costs have to be paid by others. Will a government-run medical system make these things better or worse? This very basic question seldom seems to get asked, much less answered.
If the government has some magic way of reducing costs — rather than shifting them around, including shifting them to the next generation — they have certainly not revealed that secret. The actual track record of government when it comes to costs — of anything — is more alarming than reassuring.
2. Ironically, it is politicians who have already made medical insurance so expensive that many people refuse to buy it. Insurance is designed to cover risk. But politicians have mandated that insurance cover things that are not risks and that neither the buyers nor the sellers of insurance want covered.
In various states, medical insurance must cover the costs of fertility treatments, annual checkups and other things that have nothing to do with risks. What many people most want is to be insured against the risk of having their life's savings wiped out by a catastrophic illness. But you cannot get insurance just for catastrophic illnesses when politicians keep piling on mandates that drive up the cost of the insurance. These are usually state mandates but the federal government is already promising more mandates on insurance companies — which means still higher costs and higher premiums.
All this makes a farce of the notion of a "public option" that will simply provide competition to keep private insurance companies honest. What politicians can and will do is continue to drive up the cost of private insurance until it is no longer viable. A "public option" is simply a path toward a "single payer" system, a euphemism for a government monopoly.
~Thomas Sowell's latest column on the "costs" of medical care.