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Well, some would argue that the costs of the public option might be more than we realize. For example, the government will cover pre-existing conditions, and that could add to the costs of the plan. No problem, if you can find a better private plan, take it! If you want to add on to the coverage the public plan gives you, do it! Nobody is stopping you from getting more or different coverage from a private insurance company.
Plus, there are even more savings that are likely from the public option because the government has proven to be more efficient in how they run healthcare insurance policies. Medicare has 2% in overhead, while the average private insurance plan has about 10-25% of their costs in overhead. That's an enormous difference. But even if you think the government can't run an enterprise as efficiently (though the evidence clearly shows otherwise), you would be hard pressed to think they couldn't at least cut costs significantly because of the first three reasons stated above.
So, given all of this, it is absolutely clear that the public option must be included in any real healthcare reform plan that comes out of Congress. Otherwise, it's a joke and the lobbyists have won again. The public option is the whole enchilada here. Politicians who talk about compromising on it have no policy ground to stand on. They are simply doing the bidding of their benefactors, large healthcare corporations who feed their campaign coffers. Don't believe any sweet talk about necessary compromises. It is a deception meant to kill the heart of the bill.
It must be the public option or bust. There will be many things to negotiate in the final bill, but this cannot be one of them. Otherwise, there will be no real reform.
Cenk Uygur is co-host of The Young Turks , the first liberal radio show to air nationwide.