Reed Abelson in the NYT is aghast at the prospect of a government sponsored health plan open to all:
It is one of the most contentious health care proposals President Obama has floated: offer a federal, Medicare-like insurance plan to anyone, at any age. And let commercial insurers offer their private health plans alongside it. . . . But the insurance industry and others wary of too much government intervention vehemently oppose the idea. They say the heavy hand of the government will eventually push out the private insurers, leaving the government option as the only option. . .
The main selling point for a government-run program would be its low cost. It would have a much lower overhead than private plans, with no need to make a profit or spend money on marketing or brokers’ commissions. And, if allowed to flex its muscle, the government would buy medical care at much lower prices.
The horrifying prospect that the government sponsored plan might actually deliver health care for all, at lower cost, has Chuck Grassley's knickers in a twist: “There’s a lot of us that feel that the public option, that the government is an unfair competitor.” Abelson goes on to explain that "Even Mr. Obama has acknowledged that those concerns are valid, and it is unclear how the government plan could be set up to give insurers a fair chance to compete."
How about this? If the government plan is cheaper, and better, then we don't need the private insurance companies at all. They can go away. Good riddance. No problem.