CBO: Dropping public option to cost $110 billion; and public option insurance premiums would cost you 10% less than your current private plan

Now there’s a bombshell. Advocates of the public option have been saying for a while that one of the good, and necessary, things about it is that it saves money. Now the CBO apparently agrees.

The National Journal is reporting that the CBO determined the robust public option favored by progressives would save the government $110 billion. A weaker “level playing field” public option would only save $25 billion.

This means removing the robust public option from the House bill would require a corresponding $110 billion reduction in affordablity tax credits. Depending on the final shape of the bill that would be somewhere between a 14%-23% reduction in the amount of tax credits to working class Americans. From different CBO reports (1,2) we know that in 2019 the average tax credit for an enrollee in the exchange, who needs help with affording health insurance, will be between $5,000-$6,000. Eliminating the robust public option would reduce the amount of tax credits to an individual by roughly $1,000.

The CBO also reported that, “on average the [robust] public plan would be about 10 percent cheaper than a typical private plan.”

This puts members of Congress and the administration in a tough spot. If they don’t push for a public option, then they’re pushing to needlessly increase the deficit, and to make your own monthly premiums more expensive than they need to be. The reason? It would be unfair to doctors, who already make half a million a year, if your insurance premiums went down 10%. If anything, we should be pissed that the public option only lowers premiums by 10%. If that’s the case, then maybe we need something even stronger, like single payer.

The more people find out these kind of details, the more I think they’re going to be increasingly unhappy with what Max Baucus and the Blue Dogs are proposing.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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