A Public Health Insurance Plan As an Alternative to Private Health Coverage

Should Americans be able to enroll in a newly created, publicly administered health insurance option as the nation works to expand health coverage?

Strong divisions among lawmakers and interest groups have developed over whether or not a public plan should be included in health reform legislation.

Supporters argue that a plan could lower administrative costs and leverage greater bargaining power to reduce health care costs for enrollees. Those opposed to a public plan say that it would not be fiscally responsible or sustainable. Opponents also argue that a new government-run plan would crowd out private insurance companies from the market and eventually lead to a universal system of government-run health care

This Health Policy Brief explores the various public plan proposals being debated by key House and Senate committees and was published online on June 19, 2009 in Health Affairs.