Health insurance reform opponents continue to spread myths about America's Affordable Health Choices Act including on what the public health insurance option is and how it works as a component of comprehensive reform.
Today, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial that perpetuated a number of misleading claims about the public insurance option, including the myth that it will ‘blow up the private insurance market' - and that's why hospitals and doctors don't support it.
From the editorial:
The public option's renewed momentum is mostly the product of the raw ideological willfulness of the progressive left. Led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, they're not about to let a once-in-a-generation opportunity pass without a fight, and they view the public option as a down payment on single-payer health care. They're right to think so; a public option will quickly blow up the private insurance market...
But the reality is that no one wants a public option except the political left. Doctors and hospitals hate the idea as much as insurers do... [10/22/09]
MYTH: The public health insurance option will ‘blow up the private insurance market.'
FACT: America's Affordable Health Choices Act will NOT ‘blow up the private insurance market.' In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports it builds on the current private, employer-provided health care system we have now and expands enrollment in private insurance.
The House bill includes a new Health Insurance Exchange, which will allow those without access to affordable employer-sponsored insurance, small business employees, and the self-employed to comparison shop - encouraging plans to compete on price and quality and providing Americans more coverage options. One of the many choices of health insurance within the Exchange will be a public health insurance plan. It will provide needed competition to private insurers - including in the many areas of our country dominated by just one or two private insurers today.
The public option will operate on a level playing field. It will be subject to the same market reforms and consumer protections as other private plans in the Exchange and it will be self-sustaining - financed only by its premiums.
The CBO projects that, under the House bill, about one-third of Americans using the Exchange would choose the public option and two-thirds would choose private plans. Far from a 'government takeover of health care,' CBO projects that, under the House bill, by 2019, about 11 or 12 million Americans - or less than 4 percent of Americans - would be enrolled in the public option.
MYTH: 'No one wants a public option except the political left. Doctors and hospitals hate the idea as much as insurers do.'
FACT: Poll after poll shows that a strong majority of Americans support the concept of a public health insurance option.
According to a recent poll of physicians by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - more than seven in 10 doctors support health reform that includes both a public and private health insurance option.
Organizations and associations representing members of the medical community support the principles found in America's Affordable Health Choices Act - including, but not limited to:
- American Medical Association
- American Nurses Association
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- National Physicians Alliance
- American College of Surgeons
- American College of Physicians
- American Academy of Nursing
- American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
- Emergency Nurses Association
- National Association of Children's Hospitals
- National Association of Community Health Centers
- Coalition of Full-Service Community Hospitals