President Obama personally wrote a piece for the American Medical Association’s top journal, JAMA, calling for a “public option” to finally be added to the Affordable Care Act.
“Now, based on experience with the ACA, I think Congress should revisit a public plan to compete alongside private insurers in areas of the country where competition is limited.”
If enacted, the update to ObamaCare would be huge, to say the least. Having a government-run health insurance option run alongside private plans in exchanges would allow for greater competition in the marketplace. For instance, most Americans (88%) have a considerable amount of options, with an average of at least 3 insurers offering plans in their area. Yet, 12% of Americans only have an average of 2 insurers in their area. The idea is this: having a government-run plan in areas with limited competition available will not only increase competition but it will also help keep costs low.
While the President himself cannot enact the proposal without the will of Congress, this is important in itself for several reasons.
1) The election is just around the corner and Democrats are set to retake either one or both chambers of Congress.
2) The likelihood of Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump is all but guaranteed given the latest poll numbers. Also – Hillary has already stated she backs President Obama on this but plans to offer it in every part of the country, not just in areas with limited competition. With Democrats securing victory across the board, adding a public option would be all but guaranteed.
3) This isn’t just mumbo jumbo written inside a prestigious medical journal. The Democratic Convention will be underway soon, and this is merely the first drumbeat for a major ObamaCare overhaul. Expect the rest of the Democratic Party to follow suit.
President Obama and other Democrats foresaw this problem when ObamaCare was initially implemented, but Republicans fought to keep it out. And – they got their way. Now, President Obama wants to finally fix it. And, he’s doing it just before the election because that’s the only way it’s actually going to happen. Democrats will need to win in November across the board for this major revision to take place. It can still happen.
The President also announced a few other proposed changes: increased financial assistance to purchase coverage, and increased federal government authority to negotiate prices for certain high-priced drugs.
Featured Image via Whitehouse.gov