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What’s In a Name? « The Washington Independent

Amid today’s continuing Senate Finance Committee debate over the public option, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) just brought up a point that’s rarely mentioned. The public plan being proposed by the Democrats, Kerry pointed out, is hardly public at all. That is, while the public plan would be launched with government funding, it’s required by law to pay for itself. Indeed, the plans floating around Congress would be supported wholly by patient premiums and wouldn’t be eligible for government bailouts. The savings doesn’t come from subsidies, it comes because the plan would have lower administration costs and wouldn’t have to generate profits for shareholders.

“We’re talking about a private plan that is started by the government,” Kerry said. “I think the public plan … is the wrong name for this.”

Of course, at this late stage in the debate, it’ll be tough to come up with some other term that might reverberate more strongly with the public.

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