Stark, Woolsey, Schakowsky introduce public opinion act

Bill Creates a Public Option to Compete With Private Insurers; Saves $68 Billion from 2014 through 2020

WASHINGTON - July, 22 2010 - Reps. Pete Stark (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) today announced introduction of H.R. 5808, the Public Option Act.  The bill, introduced with 128 original co-sponsors, would establish a public health insurance option to compete with private insurers in the Health Insurance Exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.

According to analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the bill would save $68 billion from 2014 to 2020.  CBO also estimates that the public option would have, on average, premiums 5 to 7 percent lower than private plans in the Exchanges.

Rep. Pete Stark, Chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee: "Today, Consumers Union reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield plans amassed billions in surpluses as they raised rates for millions of Americans.  This is a good example of why we need a public option - to create an insurance plan that competes based on delivering quality, efficient care, not on delivering profits to shareholders.  The result is more competition, better coverage, and lower premiums for millions of Americans."

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and President of Americans for Democratic Action: "As the deficit continues to grow, so does the need for a program that can save billions of dollars and improve health care while doing it.  The robust public option offers lower-cost competition to private insurance companies. This will make insurance more affordable for those who do not have it and keep insurance affordable for those who do."

Rep. Jan Schakowsky: As one of 18 members of the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, I am charged with looking for ways to reduce the federal deficits. A public option would trim federal spending by $68 billion from 2014 to 2020, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And by providing more choice, a public option would also make health care better and more affordable. Just this week, UnitedHealth Group--the country's largest managed care company -- posted a 31% increase in second quarter net income while spending more on administrative costs and less on medical care.  If a less expensive public option were available, UnitedHealth Group would face real competition, forcing them to think twice about charging excessive rates, and driving down costs.

For the text of the bill, please visit: http://go.usa.gov/Of3

For the CBO analysis of the Public Option Act, please visit: http://go.usa.gov/OfO

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