U.S. Rep. Mike Ross spoke to his keepers at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce yesterday. Confronted by a woman with a husband on Medicare who opposes "government health care," his remarks included:
"Your husband, if he’s on Medicare, that’s a government-run health insurance plan,” Ross told the woman, but he assured her that “I’m not for the government getting into health care’s business. I’m trying to get the insurance company out of the way between you and your doctor, and the last thing I want to do is replace the insurance company with the government.”
Given the arbitrary practices and exorbitant management costs of private insurance, replacing them with a government gatekeeper (such as the proven apparatus at Medicare) is the first thing I'd want. Ross also uttered this non sequitur:
“The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says after 10 years, only 10 million people would be on a public option,” he said. “If the other 290 million of us are insured by private insurance companies and only 10 million aren’t, do you really think that’s going to have the kind of teeth to make the private insurance companies do better? I think not.”
If the insurance is cheaper the number will rise. And if that prospect wasn't an absolute given, insurance companies wouldn't be fighting it so hard. Ross Economic Theory 101: Give sick people no option but a private insurance company and the resulting monopoly will lower insurance costs rather than increase its profits. It's really worked in Arkansas with Blue Cross, hasn't it?