For Seniors: What Happened to the Public Option in Health Care Reform?

Mar 28th, 2010 | By | Category: Social Security & Medicare

This past week brings great change to health care in America for senior citizens.  And even greater change for children, unemployed and those who have been unable to get health insurance coverage.  

But the legislation did not include the public option, a government-sponsored health care plan (like Medicare and the VA array of medical services) that competes with private insurers.  Competition between public and private insurers will keep costs at a more manageable level.

The first significant poll taken after the March 21 vote (CNN) found sizeable opposition to the legislation:            .

That’s a very different take on the CNN poll.  Polls conducted over the past year found a majority of Americans supported a public option (like Medicare and the Veterans Administration Medical Services) or an expansion of Medicare to all age groups.

A CBS News/New York Times poll from the summer of 2009 showed that 72 percent of Americans supported a government-sponsored health-care plan (the public option) to compete with private insurers.  Multiple polls taken last year confirm the strong support for the public option in healthcare reform. 

So why did we not get a public option in the new law? 

Huffington Post Reporter, Mike Mogulescu, confirmed today that President Obama cut secret deals with the pharmaceutical and hospital lobbies last summer. In order to gain their support for health care reform, the President had to agree not to push for a public option.  The New York Times article quoted several White House sources regarding the secret agreement. 

There is hope, however, for the majority of Americans who support a public option in health care reform.  Many House Democrats support it as well.  And they have said they will introduce a public option bill later this year.  President Obama has said he is willing to re-visit the issue.

The majority of Americans who want the public option will be looking for additional legislation this year.



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