To the Editor:
President Obama spoke forcefully and eloquently about the dire health care situation we face nationally and locally.
He spoke directly to the vast majority of citizens who feel real anxiety about health care -- whether they have insurance or not.
Indeed, his main focus in the speech to the joint session of Congress was that his plan, which brings together the best elements from all the Congressional plans that have been completed so far, is really aimed at improving the health security and financial stability of those of us fortunate enough to have health insurance.
Of course, his plan does guarantee affordable health care for all those who are not covered by their employers, or those other public plans, the VA, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Crucially, the single most important key to ensuring cost savings for all is the public option.
As the President said, this would be voluntary for people without insurance, or for small businesses who cannot afford private insurance.
It is an option such persons and organizations can participate in.
This public plan guarantees the universality of health care coverage.
In actuality, costs can only be controlled if all citizens participate (the mandated insurance) and a mechanism that is not simply regulatory (the public plan) injects real competition into a system that, as the President said, is monopolistic in too many areas of the country.
The public plan is a vital component of the overall plan because you cannot mandate that all citizens purchase health care unless there is a mechanism to ensure that the insurance companies restrain their cost increases.
Triggers and coops are cop-outs that will guarantee that health care costs continue to rise exorbitantly.
The President's plan is a sensible, pragmatic and entirely uncontroversial.
Frankly, the controversy that has been injected into the debate about health care has been nothing but a cynical and really despicable attempt, by those who seek to preserve the status quo, to scare people with overt lies.
It is time that the people of the 7th and 8th districts of Indiana tell their representatives that we want exactly the kind of smart, reasonable, pragmatic and effective cost-containment that the President's plan, anchored by its public option, will deliver.
You cannot get cost savings without mandates and you cannot have mandates without a mechanism to keep the insurance companies from ripping off the American people.