Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sen. Ben Nelson: Public Health Plan Too Threatening To Private Insurance Industry

Senator Ben Nelson (D) of Nebraska has declared his opposition to President Obama's intention to offer a public health insurance plan, favored by most Americans. From the Huffington Post:

A poll released this week by Consumer Reports National Research Center showed that 66 percent of Americans back the creation of a public health plan that would compete with private plans. Nelson, in comments made to Congressional Quarterly, joins the 16 percent of poll respondents who said they oppose the plan.

Nelson's problem, he told CQ, is that the public plan would be too attractive and would hurt the private insurance plans. "At the end of the day, the public plan wins the game," Nelson said. Including a public option in a health plan, he said, was a "deal breaker."

So Nelson's "problem" is that too many people want public health insurance–and the "deal breaker" is that it would hurt private insurance. On the issue of health care, Nelson is not a public, but a "private," servant.

I must say that Nelson is at least honest about his reasons. He didn't offer the usual nonsense about how privatized health care, which results in 47 million uninsured Americans, is the best system we can have. There's something refreshing in his candor, yes?

Why is Nelson so concerned about the health insurance industry? The group Health Care For America Now! explains that the senator has certain close campaign connections:

The company Nelson finds himself in is laid out clearly: business, the insurance industry, and Republicans. Of course, this isn't surprising, considering his campaign donation history. Open Secrets says Nelson received $608,709 from the insurance industry in 2007-2008, making the insurance industry his biggest donor group, more than lawyers and even lobbyists.

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