Anthony Weiner: We Need The Public Option And The Health Care Industry Is Making Our Argument For Us

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Rep. Anthony Weiner on MSNBC's Dr. Nancy show explaining how the AHIP memo released yesterday is making the case for the public option.

Weiner: But it’s interesting in their analysis they’re not 100% wrong. It is true that the Baucus plan doesn’t cover enough people. And it is true—the health insurance says it straight out on your show a moment ago—they’re going to raise the rates. The only thing that prevents them from doing that—and you almost got your last guest to stumble into saying it—some form of competition, but in a strange way the health insurance industry, not standing up and saying “No, no” they’re not doing enough in the Baucus bill, what they really mean is we thought we were going to get all these new customers and you’re doing all these other things to try to hold down costs—“They ain’t gonna’ work. We’re not going to let you do it”.

Which is why the argument is more profound than ever and Chuck mentioned it, we have to have the public option. If we don’t have it—if you leave them to their own devices—the health insurance industry right now is putting us on notice, “We’re not going to lower costs at all. We’re going to keep on raising costs.” Because that’s their business model.

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If you have the health care industry complaining that we’re going to raise costs because of these changes, it is them putting us on notice that we haven’t put enough cost containment in the bill. You know, the health care industry themselves is putting out a whole report saying that. That should be a tell to the Baucus team that “You know what?” maybe it’s time for them to go back and revisit the public option.

But the other thing that’s interesting here is the deal was always going to be for the health care guys, look, you’re going to get all these new customers that are going to be coming in and that’s going to be the reason you’re going to take a hair cut here. But make no mistake about it, the health care industry keeps raising costs and I think what’s going to happen with the Baucus bill is put new requirements on them, they raise costs and whatever subsidies we’re giving people to buy their own insurance, they won’t be able to afford it and we’ll keep on losing people.

This is the whole argument for the public option is right here laid out by the health care industry right now.

Dr. Laura: Do you think you’ll get it?

Weiner: I think so. I think in a strange way, and obviously they didn’t mean this, the health insurance lobby today fired the most important salvo in weeks for the public option, because they have said, as clear as day, left to their own devices, according to their own number crunchers, they’re going to raise rates 111%. And that’s why, you know we have a petition at CountdownToHealthCare.com where we’re telling people for the moderates in the Senate, the so-called moderates, and for the White House, we need the public option, and the health care industry is making our argument for us.

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