A new Reuters poll released today shows a majority of Americans — with support across party lines — want a public health insurance option as a component of any final health reform legislation:
60% want a public health insurance option included in the final health reform legislation
While support for the public option is strongest among Democrats (86%), 57% of Independents support the public option and Republican support is at 33%
In short, the percentage of respondents who favor the public option is more than three times larger than the percentage that believes the bill would substantially improve their healthcare situation. The percentage of Republicans who support the public option is higher than the percentage of the nation as a whole, on four key questions, that believes the bill will make healthcare better.
The health insurance reform bill the House passed last month (the Affordable Health Care for America Act), establishes a Health Insurance Exchange to create a competitive marketplace for individuals and small businesses to comparison shop for health insurance coverage–offering a variety of private insurance plans as well as a public insurance option. The public insurance option will:
Compete directly with private plans – putting downward pressure on premiums in all plans in the Exchange.
Operate on a level playing field — subject to the same market reforms and consumer protections as other private plans.
Have dramatically lower administrative costs than private plans — little marketing costs, lower general overhead, no high executive pay, no profits.
Be self-sustaining — financed only by its premiums.