It's not dead yet

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It's not dead yet. In fact, Senate Democrats say the public health insurance option is very much alive, which has some East Texas lawmakers fuming.

The State of Texas has the lowest percentage of it's residents covered by health insurance. But, some East Texans say the public option is the wrong option.

"I think the opt-out piece is really ridiculous," said Texas Senator Kevin Eltife.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it is necessary.

"It will protect consumers, keep insurers honest, and ensure competition," said Reid.

"My health insurance company is a legalized terrorist organization," said David Henderson, the Smith County Democratic Chairman. "If it takes a public option to civilize the health insurance companies, then so be it."

And, though states will now have the option of whether or not to opt in to a government insurance plan, Smith County Republican Chairman Ashton Oravetz says allowing states to make their own choice will eventually lead to the end of the private sector.

"Some states will opt out," said Oravetz. "Some states will go in. But, the states that go in will eventually have lower insurance costs because the government doesn't have to cover their costs, basically."

"I don't think they should put a burden on states to have to go through the process of opting out of the program," said Eltife. "Leave all the state's out, and if they want in then they can opt in."

President Obama is for the government option, but he is on record saying that the public option is not the most important aspect of health care reform. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it is.

"We are not throwing them to the wolves of the insurance industry without an option for them to choose," said Pelosi.

A deductible is the amount of money a person must pay out of pocket before health insurance begins to cover medical expenses. According to the White House, for the average family, deductibles have increased 30% in the last two years. That is why Henderson says, right now, the public option is the best option.

"If private enterprise is so wonderful, then private enterprise is going to figure out how to compete," said Henderson.

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