Letter: Kelly is wrong about a health insurance public option

To the Editor:

I was disappointed to read that our state senator, Kevin Kelly, is opposed to the possibility of CT developing its own health insurance public option, a state-run health insurance plan, similar to both Medicare and Medicaid, that would compete with private insurers as another option for consumers to consider during the process of purchasing health insurance.

While it is a well-known and universally accepted fact that the single payer healthcare systems of Canada, Britain, Sweden, etc., have the best health outcomes at the lowest cost (and thus the U.S. and CT should be looking into and discussing those systems instead of a public option), it is also a well-known and universally accepted fact that more competition within any market generally brings costs down for consumers while simultaneously offering a better final product. After all, Republicans argue all the time for more choice and competition within the healthcare market, so what’s so wrong with the public option?

Kelly incorrectly claims that a state public option would “undermine the private insurance companies.” You can equate this to Apple saying that Samsung undermines the tech industry just because it’s in competition to attract the same consumers. That competition doesn’t “undermine” Apple, it makes Apple better as it challenges Apple to continue developing better products for consumers at a competitive and often lower price.

The same could occur within our health insurance market if a public option is implemented. With less overhead costs along with an eliminated profit margin, the public option would be more affordable, forcing private insurers to adapt and subsequently drop their prices to compete. This makes the public option potentially lifesaving for the 194,000 CT residents that still lack health insurance, presumably due to the high costs associated with premiums and deductibles.

Sen. Kelly, however, seems to care more about the private health insurance industry’s profits rather than the people’s access to and affordability of care. If he were a true believer in markets and subsequent competition, he would at the very least consider this proposal and not quickly dismiss it. I urge him to reconsider his position.

Matt McGee

Shelton