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New Report: Public Insurance Option Needed to Provide Affordable, Quality Health Coverage
Date:12/17/2008

and unwilling to cover at-risk patients. However, a public-private hybrid can provide an important check on both public and private sectors, ensuring flexibility, accountability and inclusiveness.

Rep. Stark agreed with Hacker on today's call, declaring that it's time we had an alternative plan that's driven by cost-controls and quality care, not private profit.

"A public plan is an important component of any health care reform," said Rep. Stark. "A public plan like Medicare would be more efficient and would provide greater choice. Without a public plan, insurance companies will have little incentive to control costs, reaping profits at the expense of beneficiaries."

Institute for America's Future co-director Roger Hickey joined Rep. Stark and Hacker on the call, noting that the national health care debate will center on the public insurance option.

"Public insurance as part of a comprehensive solution was fully debated in the 2008 elections," said Hickey. "People across the country believe public insurance is a common-sense choice that will help control health inflation and assure quality."

Hacker's report, "The Case for Public Plan Choice," clearly shows that public insurance has a better track record than private insurance at reining in costs while preserving access to quality services. A public plan is essential to set a standard against which private plans must compete. The report outlines how public insurance has pioneered new payment and quality-improvement methods that have often set the standard for private plans and how it has the potential to carry out these vital tasks even more effectively in the future, using information technology, large databases of practices and outcomes, and new payment approaches and care-coordination strategies.

**A summary and copy of the full report, "The Case for Public Plan Ch
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SOURCE Institute for America's Future
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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