Argument: Public option weakens private insurers, forcing many out of their plans

Issue Report: Public health insurance option


“The End of Private Health Insurance”. Wall Street Journal (editorial). April 13, 2009: “In a recent analysis, Lewin estimates that enrollment in the public option will reach 131 million people if it is open to everyone and pays Medicare rates. Fully 119 million people will shift out of — or lose — private coverage. Everything depends on the payment levels that Congress adopts, as well as the size of the eligible pool. But even if a public option available to all takes the highly improbable step of paying at some midpoint between private and Medicare rates, nearly 68 million people will still be crowded out of private insurance.”

June 8th letter to Barack Obama from Senator Warren Hatch and other Finance Committee members: “Furthermore, actuaries at the Lewin Group have concluded that such a plan open to all, and offering Medicare-level reimbursement rates, would result in 119.1 million Americans losing their private coverage. This would run contrary to your pledge to the American families about allowing them to keep the coverage of their choice.”