September 27, 2021 | Updates

Public Option Watch: Public Options are Unaffordable and Unnecessary

WASHINGTON – Does the public option work? No – there is growing evidence that government-controlled health insurance systems like the public option are unaffordable and unnecessary.

  • The Cost: In Washington, the first and only state to implement a public option, many premiums for the state’s public option are more expensive than private plans.
    • Stateline reported that “early results from Washington state’s experiment are disappointing. In many parts of the state, premiums for the public option plans cost more than premiums for comparable commercial plans. Many of the state’s hospitals have refused to take part in the public option, prompting lawmakers to introduce more legislation this year to force participation if there aren’t sufficient health insurance options in a geographic area. And consumer buy-in is also meager. In its first year of operation, the state health insurance exchange sold only 1,443 public option plans, representing fewer than 1 percent of all exchange policies.”
  • Unnecessary Policy: In Nevada, recent political ads claim the state government option is available now. However, the legislation lawmakers rushed through during the final weeks of the 2021 legislative session won’t be implemented until 2026, if at all.
    • Furthermore, Nevadans already have access to affordable, high quality health care coverage now. As op-ed in the Nevada Independent highlighted, “Today, it is easier than ever for Nevadans to secure health insurance plans that meet their medical and financial needs.”

Building on and improving what’s working in health care is the most effective way to increase access to affordable, high-quality health coverage. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a report showing that more than 2.8 million Americans gained access to affordable health care during the 2021 Special Enrollment Period. There are now 12.2 million Americans enrolled in the federal and state marketplaces.

To learn more about the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, CLICK HERE.


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