House Democrats reintroduced a "public option" insurance plan last week, tweaked to fit in the 2014 insurance exchanges established in the health care overhaul law, and scored with a lucrative $68 billion in deficit reduction from the Congressional Budget Office. Supporters of the bill, which would peg the government plan at 5 percentage points above Medicare, argue that the plan will bring down the cost of health insurance and increase competition. But the public option also attracted some of the most virulent opposition to any provision in the health care overhaul law debate, with critics decrying it as a government takeover of health care.
While bill sponsor Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., acknowledged the legislation was not likely to pass this Congress, do you think Democrats can pass a public option plan before insurance exchanges start operating in 2014? Would a public option help bring down health care costs by introducing competition into the marketplace? Or will it become another Medicare and Medicaid, and eventually add to the growing deficit?