Commentary

Congress Should Use the Public Option

The President laid out a plan last week for health care reform. Now Congress gets to take up the task of writing a bill. Part of the President’s plan is this idea of a “public option” for health insurance. Essentially this will be another insurance company, but specifically for those who can’t afford insurance now (or are percieved to be unable to afford it). The political reality of healthcare reform is that something is likely to go through, but there are things than can be done to make it less worse.

One way to limit the damage of a public option would be to force all members of Congress to be able to use it. Representatives and Senators are infamously known for having a spectacular health care plan. They could either just open the current Congressional insurance plan up to the poor—which is unaffordable and never going to happen—or they could tie themselves to whatever they come up with.

If the public option is going to be so great, members of Congress should be a part of it. If it is not, then why would we subject other American’s too it?

Anthony Randazzo

Anthony Randazzo is director of economic research for Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. His research portfolio is regularly evolving, and he maintains a wide interest in economic policy at both a domestic and international level.

Randazzo is also managing director of the Pension Integrity Project, which provides technical assistance to public sector retirement system stakeholders who are seeking to prevent pension plan insolvency. His research focus on the national public sector pension crisis has a dual focus of identifying the systemic factors that cause public officials to underfund pension obligations as well as studying the processes by which meaningful pension reform can be accomplished. Within the Project he leads the analytics team that develops independent, third party actuarial analysis to stakeholders considering changes to public sector retirement systems.

In addition, Randazzo writes about the moral foundations of economic theory, and is currently developing research on the ways that the moral intuitions of economists influence their substantive findings on topics like income inequality, immigration, or labor policy.

Randazzo's work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Barron's, Bloomberg View, The Washington Times, The Detroit News, Chicago Sun-Times, Orange-County Register, RealClearMarkets, Reason magazine and various other online and print publications.

During his tenure at Reason he has published substantive research on housing finance, financial services regulation, and various other aspects of economic policy at the federal level. And he has written regularly on labor economics, tax policy, privatization, and Turkish-U.S. political and economic issues.

Randazzo has also testified before numerous state and local legislative bodies on pension policy matters, as well as before the House Financial Services Committee on topics related to housing policy and government-sponsored enterprises.

He holds a multidisciplinary M.A. in behavioral political economy from New York University.

Follow Anthony Randazzo on Twitter @anthonyrandazzo