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NTU to MoveOn: Why Not a Public Option for Everything?
October 28, 2009
Mr. Justin Ruben
Dear Mr. Ruben:
I write to commend MoveOn.org's strong support of a "public option" insurance plan in the current health care reform debate. A recent advertisement starring actress Heather Graham concluded by stating, "Competition is as American as apple pie." Truer words have never been spoken, and that's why I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for pointing out that the only way to inject real competition into the health insurance market is not by removing bureaucratic rules preventing numerous existing companies from offering their services across state lines; instead, it's by creating a massive government-run plan that will insure the more than 80 million Americans who could lose their current coverage under the proposed legislation in Congress.
While health insurance is certainly one market that needs competition from our ever-efficient and effective federal government, I feel that you are overlooking hundreds, perhaps thousands, of opportunities to inject similar competition into other industries. I urge your immediate support for a "public option" in every other industry as well.
According to Forbes magazine, health insurance companies had an average profit margin of 2.2 percent last year. Surely the 34 major industrial sectors that were more profitable are ripe opportunities for a "public option" as well. For instance, the beverage industry experienced an overall profit margin of 2.9 percent. Logic would dictate that a government-run beverage company (I'd suggest the name "Congress-Cola") would also bring much-needed competition to an industry that makes considerable money. In addition, food product companies averaged a profit margin of 6.7 percent last year. Let us band together to redefine the term "government cheese" and support a public option in food products as well.
These are but a few examples where consumers could benefit from the establishment of a government-run company to vie with the private entities that dominate the market. For your reference to the thousands of other candidates, I would point to the North American Industry Classification System booklet published by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is comprised of over 1,400 pages listing the many industries in this country that deserve a run for their money from the federal government (or at least, any money they may have left after they pay taxes).
Thank you for continuing to defend one of the most sacred American principles: government-run businesses. We can't possibly do without them!