In response to the recent article “Business leaders oppose public option,” I find it interesting that the primary reason for their concern is the potential loss of individuals from their risk pool. The purpose of the public health option is not to replace current health insurance but to expand coverage to those who either do not have access to or cannot afford private insurance.
Public option might cut uncompensated-care costs
As Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “House and Senate bills limit the option to the smallest businesses and to individuals who cannot get insurance, or whose health care costs exceed 12.5 percent of their income. Even seven years into an overhaul, an estimated 90 percent of Americans, including nearly everyone who has employer-based coverage now, would be shut out of a public option.”
In order for these business leaders to see significant losses in their insurance enrollment, the public plan would have to expand significantly. It should also be noted that although hospitals may receive less in reimbursement from a publicly insured individual compared to a privately insured individual, hospitals will also see a reduction in uncompensated care.
With the cost of healthcare rising every year, the burden placed on the public to care for these uninsured or underinsured individuals must be addressed.
Derek GinosStudentGraduate School of Public HealthUniversity of Pittsburgh
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