In an interview with the Economist magazine recently, former House Majority Leader and current FreedomWorks Capo Dick Armey said that something like a Public Option would be great. But the issue comes down to choice.
“If you in fact freely choose to enroll in Medicare that’s a wonderful gift,” said Armey, “it’s a charity, it’s something I applaud. But when they force you in, that’s tyranny.”
Needless to say, Armey, albeit a native English speaker, has not apparently focused in on the ‘option’ part of ‘public option’ since obviously, in the reality-based world, this is the whole point. It’s an option if you either cannot get or do not want insurance from a private company.
It also points back to the question (a frustratingly good one) of why the advocates of a public option and just reform in general have not simply explained this as allowing people to buy into Medicare at any age. Because, essentially, that’s what it is. And I think I could pretty much guarantee you that if the question in the public mind was “Would you like the option of buying into Medicare before you turn 65?” the opposition would be vastly diminished.
This isn’t just rhetoric. This is the most accurate and graspable explanation of what’s being proposed. Indeed, the big secret not many people are discussing is that in the current iterations of the ‘public option’ in most of the bills in committee that ‘option’ isn’t given as an option to many people. Most people aren’t allowed to access it. And it’s designed that way in order to put a crimp on any competition it might provide to private sector insurers.
But what we’re stuck with is ‘public option,’ which a crew of bamboozlers have warped into some sort of Logan’s Run government program in which your ten year old will need to make his case for his future contributions to society to ensure he can get his broken leg set rather than be euthanized and ground into Soylent Green to feed yet more illegal aliens on welfare.
Why this isn’t being used as a way to explain this program is simply beyond me.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.