Monday, March 16, 2009

Commentary: Obama should offer public health insurance to all

Posted by JieYing Peng

President Obama should provide all Americans the choice of a public health insurance plan like Medicare. He shouldn't just leave us a choice of private insurance companies, none of which could offer decent coverage.

The public health insurance option is attractive for several reasons.

First, it would lead the way in lowering administrative costs. It wouldn't need to make a profit. It wouldn't need to pay outsized salaries to administrators. Public health insurance programs have administrative costs nearly 10 percent below those of most private insurance policies, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Second, since a public health insurance option would not be under pressure to pay shareholders, it would be more able to invest in quality health care through prevention and in advising doctors about the latest research on the most effective treatments – rather than on the most profitable ones.

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