Fox’s Shephard Smith Defends the Public Option



A fascinating and frustrating exchange. Smith is exactly right that mandatory insurance without a public option is hardly a victory for the American people:

Over the last ten years health care costs in America have skyrocketed. Regular folks cannot afford it. So, they tax the system by not getting preventative medicine. They go to the emergency room in the last case and we all wind up paying for it. As the costs have gone up, the insurance industry’s profits, on average, have gone up more than 350%. And it is the insurance companies which have paid, and who have contributed to Senators and Congressmen on both sides of the aisle to the point where now we cannot get what all concerned on Capitol Hill seem to believe and more 60% of Americans say they would support, which is a public option. This has been an enormous win for the health-care industry, that is an unquestioned fact. But I wonder, what happens to the American people when we come out with legislation now which requires everyone to have health care insurance—or many more people—but does not give a public option? Therefore millions more people will have to buy insurance from the very corporations that are overcharging us, and whose profits have gone up 350 percent in the last ten years. It seems like we the people are the ones getting the shaft here.

And yet, mandatory insurance with a public option is also a disaster. A “public option,” subsidized by the general population, may indeed crowd out and destroy what’s left of market insurance, as some people fear. Why would he defend such a plan? He, like his liberal counterparts at MSNBC, are right to note that mandatory insurance is pure corporatism if there’s no public plan; but it’s socialism with such a plan and that’s also bad. The only true solution is the free market, which we don’t have. I must admit, I find it bizarre to see Smith take this position, although it does fall in line with Fox News’s generally pro-state bias. Perhaps this is a way of criticizing Obama in what he will likely sign—from the left—while still supporting more government intervention?

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