The Public Plan

Drum's jaw drops:

Let me get this straight.  Andrew Sullivan is arguing for greater federal intervention in the healthcare market?  Because that's the only way to hold down costs? I feel like I'm living in Bizarro world.  But hey I'm all for a public option.  I suspect it would have only a modest effect on long-term healthcare costs which is pretty much the way I feel about every other proposal to rein in spending too but modest is still better than nothing.  In any case, I guess this means Andrew, Mickey, and I are all in agreement on something. Weird.

Nate Silver convinced me that the public option is not the devil awhile back. The effect of healthcare costs on the private sector and our seeming inability to stop them has pulled me over to taking this position seriously. Pure pragmatism given the fiscal and economic costs of the status quo which are simply unsustainable. Sure, I'm worried the government might abuse their market power, but there could be ways to limit that. David Brooks strikes the right tone:

I’m not crazy about the public plan. I dislike the idea of the government competing in a marketplace it regulates. I think the temptation to subsidize the public entity will be overwhelming. But I’m not vociferously against it either. That’s because:

A.) I’m not that thrilled with the insurance companies.

B.) I think it will save money, but not that much (the C.B.O. agrees).

C.) (!) I think it will produce small administrative efficiencies.

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