I sent the following note to both my Senators and my Congressman:
Subject: You can have my vote if...
I'm a conservative-leaning independent, but I think the Democrats could instantly get my support for the public plan (even at a $1 trillion price tag over ten years) on one condition: hospitals must be required to let me pay cash for medical services at the same rate they would charge the public plan. One problem as I understand it with the health care industry is, if you took the same money you want to spend on health insurance and simply self-insured (i.e. invested it in bonds or CDs), when you actually needed health care you'd find that the hospitals charge you more for a given service than they charge health insurance companies, because of economies of scale and business leverage. I see that as a problem because it means you're forced into the insurance industry, you can't buy health care out of pocket, so the health CARE industry automatically inherits all the problems of the health INSURANCE industry. By letting me pay cash at the same rate as at least one insurance company (the public plan), it brings market forces back into play and, assuming that the public plan negotiates rates that are not foolishly high, gives health INSURANCE companies their most important competitor--not the public plan but me as an individual--and I don't have to be afraid if the public plan does happen to put the other health care providers out of business, even if there _were_ "death panels," since I could just buy care myself if the public plan won't provide it. Basically I'm using the government as a proxy to negotiate my rates for me.
Anyway, if you enable individuals to compete you'll have my vote even if I end up paying for something I'd rather not (the public plan) to get it. Fixing the structural problems in the system is worth it.
Rock Is Dead. Long Live Scissors!
"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)