Most progressives — including President Obama — argue that allowing a new public plan to compete with private insurers would increase choice, promote effective competition, bring down health care costs and create incentives for effective performance. (Jacob Hacker has much more here).
Well, a new poll released today by Lake Research found that most Americans agree with this argument. “A whopping 73% of voters want everyone to have a choice of private health insurance or a public health insurance plan while only 15% want everyone to have private insurance.”
Republicans and the insurance companies are part of that stubborn 15%. They argue that competition would force private insurers out of business and lead to a complete government take-over of health care. But as Howard Dean explained in a recent interview with ThinkProgress, giving Americans a choice between a public and a private plan is the only way to achieve real health care reform.
According to the Commonwealth Fund, a public coverage program similar to Medicare would reduce projected health care costs by about $2 trillion over 11 years, and lower premiums by about 20% on average. Within a decade, 105 million people would be enrolled in the public plan, and about 107 million would have private insurance.