David Plouffe: 'Public Option' Needed to Save Obamacare

By Susan Jones | August 29, 2016 | 6:43am EDT
Obamacare problems revive talk of a "public option," or government-run health care. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "How concerned are you that ObamaCare could implode?" Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked former Obama campaign manager and senior adviser David Plouffe on Sunday.

Plouffe said while "almost all" of Obamacare is working, he believes it's time to consider a "public option" -- a government-run health care plan.

"So I think what will happen after this election, though, is obviously you'll have the space to say OK, what is working well? And I think almost all of it is. What needs to be strengthened? I think you'll see a lot of Republican governors now finally accept Medicaid funding."

With so many insurance companies dropping out of the Obamacare exchanges, "was bailing on a public option a mistake?" host Chuck Todd asked Plouffe.

"Well, I think the president's spoken recently about that, you know, that he -- I don't think you could have gotten a public option passed, by the way. That wasn't going to get passed. You know, we barely passed this thing.

"So you know, I think -- but at the end of the day, the president spoke of that. And he thinks that's part of the solution going forward."

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month, President Obama discussed "next steps" for the Affordable Care Act.

"[M]ore can and should be done to enhance competition in the Marketplaces," Obama wrote.

"Some parts of the country have struggled with limited insurance market competition for many years, which is one reason that, in the original debate over health reform, Congress considered and I supported including a Medicare-like public plan. Public programs like Medicare often deliver care more cost-effectively by curtailing administrative overhead and securing better prices from providers.

"The public plan did not make it into the final legislation. 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. Adding a public plan in such areas would strengthen the Marketplace approach, giving consumers more affordable options while also creating savings for the federal government."

As Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber infamously said in 2014, "if you had a law which made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.

"And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass.”

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