A new poll shows that a majority of the public supports a public option, and it’s time for lawmakers to listen. When Senators like Charles Grassley and Orrin Hatch inveigh against a government-provided insurance option, we all know on whose behalf they’re speaking. But the problem is some of their constituents believe the nonsense about a public option limiting choice for Americans. The Republicans argue that when President Barack Obama says you can keep the health insurance you have if you like it, he’s not telling the truth. But the real truth is that nothing guarantees you can keep the insurance you have anyway.
Because of rising costs, employees were losing their employer-based insurance before,which is what helped spark this call to reform. Employers are also forcing their employees to contribute more money to crappier plans that then ask for even more out-of-pocket payments if you ever use them to go to the doctor. That’s why the number of uninsured Americans kept growing year after year. The Kaiser Family Foundation tells us that’s likely to keep happening without reform.
One of those crappy, high-deductible plans for which I still have to contribute a sizable percent of my income is what I’ll be struggling to afford next year. I’m going to change insurance companies for the fourth time in two years. The first change was my “fault;” I changed employers and moved to a different state. The other changes came when my company was sold and bought, and then bought again. Now, my new owner has decided the health care plan I elected is too expensive. If I want to keep my doctors on the new plan and they’re not in the network, there’s a good chance my insurance will only cover 85 percent of “reasonable and customary” costs. Is there a list of what the company considers “reasonable” for different types of treatments or procedures? No. I’m sure whatever I face next year, I can count on a confusing bill to follow.
This is what’s frustrating to me about the right’s claims of personal choice and responsibility in the health care debate. I’m pretty trapped with whatever new plan my new employer wants to implement. And it doesn’t feel like choice.