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Forgotten in the Debate: Most States Already Have Public Plans

Yesterday, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) told Fox News that he hopes the town hall outcries will end the Democrats’ push for a public plan option and focus the debate instead on other elements of health care reform, like insuring folks with preexisting conditions.

You’ve heard from the American people these past couple of weeks and as a consequence, the bill that Democratic leadership thought was going to be the be-all and end-all piece to change health care in this country forever now doesn’t look so viable. So maybe it is a good thing that we go back and we try to focus on those things that are clearly important to a lot of people. And that is helping people deal with the preexisting conditions problem.

Forgotten in this debate is the inconvenient fact that, in 34 states, such a solution is already in place. They’re called state-sponsored risk pools, which gather up those who’ve been denied private insurance coverage because of preexisting conditions, pooling them together and offering them the chance to buy into state-backed insurance plans.

In other words, they’re public plans that sweep up the mess left behind behind the private insurers — more evidence (as if 45 million uninsured Americans weren’t enough) that decades of competition between private insurers hasn’t done the trick.

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