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The Public Option's True Cost

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Published August 4, 2020

Supporters of the public option say it will lower insurance premiums without increasing federal spending. Medicare and Medicaid began with similar promises, but political pressure led Congress to break its promises and increase federal spending by billions of dollars. The public option has a worthy goal, but we should be skeptical of plans that claim to offer affordable insurance without increasing federal spending.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Who bears the cost of the public option if Congress increases spending to subsidize enrollees and medical providers?
  2. Is there a way to make health insurance more affordable without implementing the public option?

Additional Resources:

  • Read “The Myth of the ‘Moderate’ Public Option,” by Lanhee Chen via the Wall Street Journal. Available here.
  • Read “The Fiscal Effects of the Public Option” by Lanhee Chen, Tom Church, and Daniel Hiel. Available here.
  • Listen to “Don’t Be Fooled by the Public Option,” with Lanhee Chen via the Townhall Review. Available here.