What's all this I'm hearing about Republicans and a "public/private option"?
--Confused in D.C.
Always glad to help out with the confusion.
For many years, conservatives both in and out of government circles, including such think-tanks as Enterprise and Heritage, have been lobbying heavily (and spending millions of dollars on the effort) to bring about a public/private option. The argument they have made as consistently as conservatives have ever argued for anything is that only competition between a public option and the private sector can bring about the improvements that we so desperately need. Only a healthy competition between the public sector and the private sector can bring into being the sort of market efficiencies that lead to the best results and the greatest savings. So strongly have Republicans in particular felt about this crying need that they have been willing to divert billions of dollars in tax payer funding to support public/private option systems. The conservative position has been that nothing short of tax-supported competition between a public option and multiple private options can save us from the current unsatisfactory dispensation.
Despite numerous independent studies that have shown few demonstrable benefits from such systems when they have been tried, conservatives cling tenaciously (one might say almost bitterly) to their dream of competition between a public option and public-financing for private options in K-12 education.
Does that help, CDC?
Q. Hey -- I was talking about health care, not schools!
A. Oh . . . so sorry. That's completely different, isn't it.