Howard Dean on MSNBC's Morning Meeting on whether there should be a public option in the health care reform bill.
Dean: The public option is really the only way to inject the kinds of things that the President wants and I think the Secretary was wrong when she said it's not essential. It is essential. You don't have reform without the public option. I guess I'd even disagree with the President. To say it's a sliver of the bill, it's true, technically it's a sliver of the bill. There's a lot of other stuff in the bill, but without a public option you're pumping $60 billion a year into the private health insurance industry, and I think that's an enormous mistake and hardly qualifies as reform......
I don't think the President can sign a bill which puts $60 billion dollars of tax payers' money into the private health industry, and that's what this bill would be without the public option, so I hope that he wouldn't sign that bill. I don't think he'll get a bill like that because I don't think the House will pass one.....
....My advocacy would be for this. If you're not going to have a public option, then don't call it health reform. Strip all the money out of the bill and just do something we did here in Vermont about fifteen years ago, guaranteed issue and community rating. Require insurance companies to insure everybody. Stop them from kicking people off and don't let them charge huge amounts of money for sicker patients.
That's not health reform. It's insurance reform. You won't do much for the uninsured but you will make the health insurance market work better for the people it does work for. And you know, that's an incremental step and I wouldn't want to throw that out, but I'd strip the money out of the bill because this is going to be and expensive bill and if you're not going to get reform then you shouldn't bother with the expense.
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