Thursday, June 25, 2009

Obama discusses public health care option on Nightline; Lewin appears with analysis of public option

Charles Gibson continued the Primetime interview with President Obama Wednesday night (June 23) on ABC Nightline and went into the controversial question of the publicly owned plan as a competitive option.

As to naysayers, the president said bluntly, “They’re wrong.” I was told not to say things like that as a boy. “We want to set up a health care exchange. … One option should be a public option … that would provide competition for the private insurers.” Obama went on to explain that the government would have unfair advantage over private insurers if it could just print money, but it will not have such because it will have to make up the costs in other areas. (Do we believe that will really happen?)

The head of the Lewin Group, John Sheils, appeared and suggested that, according to Lewin, about 70% of Americans would benefit from the public plan. I worked for Lewin myself as a computer programmer in 1988-1989 in the area of Medicare operating margins. Mr. Sheils has a position paper from June 12 “The Costs and Coverage Impacts of a Public Plan” here from a Health Law Conference. Lewin, part of the time under Quorum, has done very well indeed since I left in early 1990.

All television networks were diverted from the health care debate Thursday evening by the deaths of Michael Jackson (cardiac arrest) and Farah Fawcett. I recall that Michael Jackson performed at the half time show in the 1993 Super Bowl, after President Clinton took office, and put on a choreographed act that seemed to make fun of the ban against gays from the military (with a Marine Corps parody).

Picture: where I worked at CCG, which would become part of Lewin, back in 1988 (Washington DC).

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