June 5, 2024 | Updates

What Are Government-Controlled Health Insurance Proposals Trying to Solve? 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As policymakers look for solutions to lower health care costs, research and data continue to demonstrate that public option proposals fail to lower prices and don’t expand Americans’ access to high-quality health care. So, the question remains: What are government-controlled health care proposals trying to solve?  

Early results from state public option plans implemented in Colorado, Washington, and Nevada show that these proposals consistently fail to rein in costs:  

  • Washington State and Colorado did not meet their respective insurance premium target goals (Lanhee Chen, Tom Church, and Daniel Heil, 4/10/2024
    • After three years, only four of Washington State’s 39 counties have a public option plan that met the state’s premium targets for bronze-level plans – and only one county met the target for silver-level plans. 
    • In Colorado, only 15 percent of plans met the state’s initial-year premium targets, and even fewer plans met the state’s second-year targets. 
  • State lawmakers have failed to secure sufficiently low reimbursement rates, causing state public option plans to attract fewer consumers and make little impact on their respective uninsured rates. (Lanhee Chen, Tom Church, and Daniel Heil, 4/10/2024
    • Washington State and Colorado public option plans have enrolled less than one percent of their respective state populations. 

Meanwhile, our current health care system is working. More Americans have access to coverage and premiums continue to decrease.   

  • “The uninsured rate hit an all-time low in early 2023 with just 7.7% of Americans without health coverage.” (Axios, 8/3/2023
  • A record-high 21.3 million Americans signed up for marketplace health care plans during the 2024 Open Enrollment Period. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 01/24/2024

Recent polling and research continue to show that government-controlled health care proposals fail to meet expectations. Instead of implementing unaffordable proposals like the public option, Medicare at 60, and Medicare for All, lawmakers should continue to build on our current system, which has expanded access to affordable, high-quality health care. Let’s continue to build upon and strengthen our current system, not start from scratch. Learn more at https://americashealthcarefuture.org/.  



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