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The Public Option Is Not Dead

You may have given up or forgotten about it, but some states are already using the health reform law to test their own versions of government-run healthcare. In 2014, under the federal health overhaul law, millions of Americans will

You may have given up or forgotten about it, but some states are already using the health reform law to test their own versions of government-run healthcare.

In 2014, under the federal health overhaul law, millions of Americans will be able to buy coverage through state-based insurance exchanges. In California, government-run public plans, like the Alameda Alliance for Health, will go head-to-head with private insurance companies to compete for all those new customers, and those who run the county plans believe they can offer a robust network of doctors and hospitals to bargain shoppers looking for low-cost coverage.

“I think when some people get to make a choice,” says [Alameda Alliance for Health CEO Ingrid] Lamirault, “having local offices they can walk into and get help with things and get their questions answered, and when they call customer service they get their calls answered in under two minutes. Those kinds of things are important to them.”

Montana is looking at opening up its Medicaid program to public employees and, eventually, to any citizens in the state, although it’s unclear whether the state will receive waiver authority to do so. Oregon is considering a similar approach just as Vermont moves forward on its own plan to go single-payer.

Maybe it's time to check in with your representatives to find out what they're doing to make healthcare affordable fore everyone, and if they aren't doing anything, shame them with these fine examples of progress.

[Washington Post, Image via Flickr]

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