It can't really be any clearer than this:
The very existence of the public- option idea as part of the health reform policy package became iconic, representing the continuing debate over the proper role of government in the financing of health care. As the debate moved from the policy community to the political arena, the most significant problem was the evident value differences over this idea. Critics called the public option a Trojan horse for a single- payer plan. They were correct. --Verum quoting Journal of Health Policy, Politics, and Law
As a public service, Verum also put up a video montage of Obama lying like a rug on that issue. (There are plenty of other lies he tells, almost always preceded by "....let me be frank...")
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While I would favor a single payer plan, the so-called "public option" was meant to provide competition for the private insurance companies so that they would work to become more efficient and competitive to bring costs down. And why would private insurers have a hard time being more efficient than a "government" (can't do anything right) insurance system.
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