Published January 16, 2013
WASHINGTON – Dozens of lawmakers are taking another crack at enacting a so-called "public option" health insurance plan -- this time, pitching it as a way to reduce the deficit.
On Tuesday, more than 40 House Democrats led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. Harry Waxman, D-Calif., revisited the idea floated -- and eventually scrapped -- during the battle over the federal health care overhaul. They introduced the Public Option Deficit Act which they say will give health care consumers “more choice and lower their premiums.”
“ObamaCare is already helping millions of Americans get the health care they need, but it can be made even better,” Schakowsky said in a statement.
“It would provide premiums that are 5 percent to 7 percent lower than private insurance plans,” she added.
Schakowsky argued that the plan would lower insurance costs and address deficit concerns -- claiming it could save $104 billion over 10 years. A statement from her office did not specify how, though prior Congressional Budget Office reports have claimed a public option could trim the deficit.
The idea of a public option -- or government-run health insurance plan -- was ultimately left out of Obama’s health care law after failing to gain enough traction in Congress. Republicans panned it as a government takeover of health care while insurance industry representatives worried about the impact it would have on their business.