The legislators' reluctance to control premium costs comes despite the fact that they intend to require virtually all Americans to get health insurance, an unprecedented mandate -- long sought by insurance companies -- that would mark the first time the federal government has compelled consumers to buy a single industry's product, effectively creating a captive market.
"We are about to force at least 30 million people into an insurance market where the sharks are circling," said California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, a Democrat who served as the state's insurance commissioner for eight years. "Without effective protections, they will be eaten alive."
Healthcare reform with mandates but no cost controls or public option is a corporate takeover of American life. This is how we ought to be defining this. Max Baucus and his ilk are on the record in favor of such a takeover. If we're going to be mandated to buy insurance, which is a goal not without merit, then we need to have a public option so corporations aren't in total control of our health.
Put another way, education in America is compulsory within various age ranges state-by-state. Now imagine if there wasn't a free public school option and, instead, we were all required under penalty of law to send our kids to private schools where tuition is often prohibitively expensive.