It's Really Quite Simple...
Collective individual mandate - public option= Higher premiums in which the only competition will be among HMO's who will break their necks seeing who can jack up their rates the highest. See health care bill, Romney, Massachusetts.
So how come the White House is backing down from an already watered-down public option that's, at best, a horrible palimpsest of the universal single-payer option that hundreds of economists and the vastly ignored and underappreciated Dr. Howard Dean are saying we need and why is the laughable, factually-crippled regional cult known as the latter-day GOP getting their way as if they're still in charge?
If Einstein were still alive and actually weighing in on the current health care debate, it's a sure bet that the smartest guy who ever lived would be able to see through the propaganda that would be eerily similar to the anti Semitic agitprop leveled against Jews in Nazi Germany. He would have seen the Hitleresque references to Obama at town halls for what they were because he'd fled his native country after seeing the real thing. Einstein would have sadly shaken his forever touseled head at the mass hysteria over what criminally-diluted health care "reform" the government is about to foist off on us. The only question he would've asked himself would have been: What's worse? When the people of a fascist country unconditionally support their government or when the people of a democracy unconditionally condemn their government?
In short, Einstein wouldn't have written on a blackboard what some mouth breathing right wing blogger posthumously co-opted him into writing in the lead picture.
How the White House can say that a public option is "not the defining piece of health care" is beyond the capacity of any thinking person to wrap their mind around. You would think the president's economic team of "the best and brightest" would've told him a long time ago about the basic economic law of supply and demand: The more you jack up demand, the higher the prices of goods and services. You don't need to be Nobel laureate Paul fucking Krugman to understand that. What's truly tragically disheartening is the fact that even though Barack Obama has reputedly read ten health care horror stories a day for the last several months (meaning countless hundreds of the worst ones have already been presented to him) haven't made enough of a dent for him to even seriously entertain a public option much less single payer coverage.
Turning America into a premium/co-pay/deductible farm of 300,000,000 serfs would artificially jack up demand to 100%, making those who "refuse" to buy into whatever health insurance at whatever HMO's decide they can get away with gouging subject to huge penalties. No public option, no co-ops to compete with the largest insurers and no stringent safeguards built into any bill to prevent them from jacking up prices will mean premiums that are even higher than we're paying now.
Even wiping out the pre-existing conditions that get people knocked off their health care plans could unintentionally backfire: Those who have real or imagined pre-existing conditions won't be kicked to the curb but that doesn't mean HMO's can't jack up the size of their monthly premiums, co-pays and deductibles because they're "higher risk" policy holders who might, heaven forbid, actually cost them a tiny percentage of 1/10 of 1% of their annual revenues and their shareholders and board of directors won't stand for that.
It's really quite simple: An individual mandate that forces 300,000,000 people to become customers to a still largely unregulated racket will equal higher premiums than we're already paying. But single payer or extending Medicare to everyone was never on the table when this is where Democrats should've started negotiating. Instead, they began from an already compromised position while bowing down to the DINO's of the Blue Dog Coalition, the rump party known as the GOP and their employers in the health care field who can already afford to spend $1.4 million a day on lobbyists.
And any health care negotiations that involve Billy "I love my Mommy" Tauzin, Rahm Emmanuel's own brother, and the tacit consent of Big Pharma and the health insurers doesn't bode well for anyone who doesn't already have free health care for themselves and their family by working in our co-opted government. Moreso than any other issue, the health care "reform" debate makes a mockery of the once much-vaunted and long sought-after 60 seat Senate majority. Apparently, the only way this country will get any meaningful health care reform is if Congress consists of about 285 Alan Graysons or Dennis Kucinichs or Bernie Sanders.
And moreso than any other issue, the health care debate proves once and for all how completely out of touch virtually everyone in our government is about the needs of we the people of the United States. We no longer matter except as a source of revenue for their employers in the health care mafia and a source of votes. Because alienating us and their campaign contributors might cost them their incumbency, hence their own free health care plans and it's a delicate tightrope dance. How they can avoid alienating we the people of their states and districts and their benefactors has yet to be determined. We can only hope the 2010 midterms prove to be just desserts for all the senators and congressmen who are about to saddle us with this boondoggle of a health care bill. Yes, it's that important, just as important and catalytic as the Iraq War proved to be on the 2006 midterms.
There's a well-known anecdote about Albert Einstein. He belonged to a chamber quartet made up of other physicists and scientists and he had trouble keeping up with the other three men. Exasperated, one of the musicians blurted out, "Dr. Einstein, don't you know how to count?!"
The same question could apply to the general intelligence and ethics quotient of our elected officials, these men and women of supposedly staggering pragmatism, intelligence and knowledge.