Key Republican Troubled That Public Option Is “Cheaper,” Has “Clear Advantages”

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If you ask most people whether politicians should be in the business of providing Americans better services at lower costs they’d probably say yes. But Rep. John Kline (R-MN)–ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee–seems to believe just the opposite.

“There are some things in this legislation that I find particularly troublesome,” Kline told Minnesota Public Radio. Specifically, he was thinking of the public option. “[O]ur fear is that if you actually get in there looking at the legislation that it’s set up in a way that employers would increasingly opt to letting their employees move over to the public, to the public option. And because it is cheaper, it’s designed to save money, which the government-run program has some very clear advantages, and the claims that it’s gotta pay for itself that through the first three years of this there would be government subsidies.”

Ummmmm…yeah. Sounds terrible. You can listen to the whole thing here, but the key moment begins at about 3:35.

Early indications suggest that the public option will much more than pay for itself. But no matter. I assume that public opinion polling must show overwhelmingly that Americans want to pay more for health care so that insurance companies don’t have to contend with a superior, cheaper competitor. Otherwise it’s hard to understand Kline’s statements anything other than a call to subsidize insurance companies–and no elected official would ever stand for that.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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