It lives!

Just when you thought it was over:

And you thought all talk of a public option health insurance plan was dead. But no, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) asked the Congressional Budget Office to crunch the numbers on a public plan, funded by premiums, not taxes, and they found the following:

“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the public plan’s premiums would be 5 percent to 7 percent lower, on average.”

Also:

“CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that the proposal would reduce federal budget deficits through 2019 by about $53 billion.”

The next year would probably save another $15 billion, for a total of $68 billion shaved off the deficit by 2020.

You can read the full CBO report here.

But look, what I said back then still applies:

It’s just not that important. It’s really not. Maybe there was a time it was, but no longer. Now it’s a withered appendage. No more people will be insured with a public option than without it. Nor will the quality of care differ. It may decrease the total cost of the bill by a few percent, but that’s it. It’s not a path to single payer. It’s not a secret government takeover of care. And I say that not caring whether you hope or fear if either of those things is true.

I’m all for saving another $53 billion a decade, but come on.  We’re spending $2.5 trillion a year on health care.  I applaud the idea of continuing to improve the system, but we need to make bigger changes than this.

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