The “Public Plan Option”: Myths and Facts

Physicians for a National Health Program
29 E. Madison St., Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60602-4404

Myth: A public option will increase choice for patients. Fact: A public plan option will not increase choice of what matters for our health: choice of caregivers and choice in location of care. Patients will still have a limited choice of provider restricted by networks and will pay more to see providers outside of their network. Patients will still have to seek authorization for treatment. The public option will add one more plan to the hundreds of plans that already exist.

Myth: A public option will enable patients to keep their own doctor, regardless of changes in employment or health. Fact: A public plan option does not guarantee patients can keep their doctor regardless of employment or health because it leaves the employer based system of health care provision intact. If an employer chooses to change to a new plan, patients may have to change their doctor or pay higher fees to stay with their doctor. Insurers have strong financial incentives to enroll the healthy while avoiding the sick patients; thus if a patient becomes ill, they still risk losing their employer based insurance.

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