You've seen the news. The insurance industry has offered a pledge to President Obama to reduce health care costs by $2 trillion over 10 years.
Sounds great, right? Only one problem - this is a voluntary agreement.
In a word, we need accountability.
We need the public health insurance option. A strong, transparent competitor to private insurance that will hold these companies to their word, or offer Americans an alternative if they break their promise.
Stand with Health Care for America Now and Dr. Howard Dean and say any legislation without a public health insurance option is not real reform, and not the change we need. Sign the petition!
As President Obama said today while addressing the nation:
What they're doing is complementary to and is going to be completely compatible with a strong, aggressive effort to move health care reform through here in Washington with an ultimate result of saving health care costs for families, businesses and the government.
This is a historic day, a watershed event in the long and elusive quest for health care reform. And as these groups take the steps they are outlining, and as we work with Congress on health care reform legislation, my administration will continue working to reduce health care costs to achieve similar savings.
In other words, President Obama is still committed to health care reform legislation, committed to turning this voluntary agreement into law, with a public health insurance option to control costs.
And that's the real test. As I noted earlier today:
The letter that Obama received contained no specifics on how to get these cost reductions, but Obama has already put forward his ideas in the campaign and in the budget. [For example, Obama wants to cut overpayments to private insurers through Medicare Advantage, something the insurance industry is against. Do they change their stance now?] So, when Obama and Congress asks the insurance industry to put its money where its mouth is and support legislation that makes these cost controls a reality - payment reform, industry regulation, competition in the form of a public health insurance option - will they still be on board?
This is the setup. Obama now has these groups on the record supporting real cost reductions, and he got that agreement without trading away anything. It's going to be that much harder for them to balk at actual cost controls in health care reform legislation, and if they do and shatter any last shreds of credibility they have, it'll make it that much easier to blow by their objections and past health care reform.
We need accountability to hold the insurance industry to their promises. And we need a guaranteed backup if these promises fall by the wayside. Health Care for America Now is standing with Dr. Dean in support of a public health insurance option to do just that.