The article “Despite law, 20 WA counties don’t offer public-option health plans” reveals the false promise of Cascade Care. It’s hardly public and hardly an option. A plan that isn’t publicly run, isn’t cheaper than private insurance, and isn’t available in half the counties sounds like the crummy private insurance options we already have. Despite being hailed as the country’s first public option, it enrolled less than 2,000 people.
A “public option” sounds appealing, but does nothing to fix what’s problematic about our for-profit system — huge administrative costs, huge profits for health industry executives, and an inefficient, cumbersome, fragmented system that doesn’t cover everyone.
What’s most frustrating is that the Legislature had a bill that would have provided single-payer health care to every resident while saving the state billions, Senate Bill 5204. The bill was not given a committee hearing.
Our politicians keep promising they can fix our health care system with duct tape and bailing wire, as many continue to take donations from the health care industry. But the failure of Cascade Care shows how poorly stopgap measures fare under the thumb of the all-powerful health care industry. To truly fix our broken health care system we need universal health care.