David Henderson writes, of the public option bit in Obama’s speech last night:
Obama says that the “public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects.” OK, so imagine the Obama plan passes with this option. If it’s going to be self-sufficient, it can’t collect any funds from government. That seems to be the general agreement about what “self-sufficient” means. When you start a plan, you need employees and a building. You also need money to advertise. Where do you get it? The usual way in the private sector is that you get loans and or investments from venture capitalists. I’m assuming that everyone agrees that with a government plan, the second option, venture capital, is out. That leaves loans. But even getting loans requires putting out some kind of literature, getting some kind of permission, etc. So you probably need lawyers and a few other people. How do you pay them? You might say, “With loans,” but you don’t have loans yet and you can’t get them without the lawyers. Will the lawyers just provide their services gratis? See the problem? Right from the getgo, the government would have to put in some money, thus breaking Obama’s promise.
Which, more or less, is what I thought when I heard the public option described. It strikes me that it will either be very ineffective and “self-sufficient” or it will have some chance of accomplishing something and be funded by the government.