Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MS) is, on most things, one of the good ones. That's why I was disappointed to see her tweet tonight (on Twitter):
I support public option,as long as private can compete.
My first question is WTF? Seriously? Private insurance companies compete so well that they HAVE NO COMPETITION! They are an oligopoly (many buyers, few sellers) who charge high rates, fix prices, make huge profits, and whose incentive is not to deliver any kind of product, but just make maximum profits.
This is just wrong-headed thinking by anyone, much less a leading Democrat senator.
Here are what some other folks who follow McCaskill on Twitter said:
Isn't that just corporate welfare? Subsidize me, not megacorps.
Private Ins Co's don't need protection from us, we need protected from them. Why else have a Gov't?
Does that mean you want to artificially inflate public option costs so private companies don't have to lower prices?
If they want to compete, they'll adapt. That's what the free market does. Public Option FTW.
the private sector ins cos has been gouging for decades. Why enable them further? They raised my small biz rates 38% in a year.
Indeed. The main reason 47,000,000 Americans have no health insurance is they can't afford it. And insurance companies, every year, post record profits. Medicare is administered with only 2-3% overhead costs, making it the most efficient health care provider in the US.
Can private companies compete with this? I don't give one crap. Blue Cross isn't Starbucks, an impulse or disposable income purchase. It's a virtual necessity. And I don't really single-out Blue Cross, all insurance providers, with few exceptions, are predatory. Health care is one of the glues keeping society together. All 1st world countries except the U.S. have single-payer or socialized medicine. And it works.
If you're a conservatarian who, like the awful phony Grover Norquist, wants to shrink government down so small he can drown it in a bathtub, then you don't have to participate in a "public option". Keep subsidizing Blue Cross's sky-high profits, Just don't stop me from saving money and improving my longevity by using a new, public health care system.
And Sen. McCaskill, please pay attention to polls: Americans favor radical changes in health care. Don't be a conservative on this issue. If Blue Cross and big pharma try to buy you off, come to your constituents, let them know what's happening. You'll still get your needed campaign contributions. Something Senators and Congresspersons have learned: The Netroots rewards good behavior.