Carper’s Brand New “Alternative” To The Public Option
Politico is reporting that Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) has a brand spanking new “alternative” to the public option that he has been secretly shopping around the senate.
Carper suggests giving states the option of creating a competitor to private insurers, which could include a government plan, a network of co-ops, or a large purchasing pool modeled after the revered Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.
First, a “large purchasing pool modeled after the revered Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan” is what the new exchanges in health care reform are suppose to be. The is not a new idea. This is not an alternative to a public option. This is what the system would be similar to without the public option.
State-based public plans are unlikely to have much of an effect on the health insurance market. Because they would likely be restricted to the new exchanges, state-based public plans in less populated states would have extremely small risk pools. They would also lack the size need to negotiate the best rates possible. Finally the CBO has already looked into Conrad’s idea of co-ops and found them to be basically worthless. Restricting them even further will not help the matter.
Progressives should take heart, though, that Carper is floating a new “compromise.” It is a sign that progressive grassroots organizations and members of Congress have been successful in rejecting previous fake compromises, like trigger and co-ops. Carper’s plan is just one more in a long line of worthless fig leafs, trying to masquerade as real reform.