Someone tipped me off to a recent quiz about health care reform linked off the CNN.com homepage. Question 2 was this:
The public option is voluntary, not mandatory. That’s true. But CNN believes the government pays for the public option. That’s false.
People would pay premiums the same way they would to private insurance. The option is covered 100% by premiums. There is $2 billion in start-up funding, but that’s all paid back in the first 10 years. It’s completely self-sustaining after that.
Enrollees in the public option are eligible for the same affordability credits that enrollees in all the private plans are eligible for. There are no special taxpayer subsidies for the public option. It’s a big misconception. It’s not like Medicare which is paid for with taxpayer dollars and people are automatically enrolled. No one is automatically enrolled in the public option, and it’s not funded by taxpayer dollars.
I sent a note to Elizabeth Cohen (because I heard she repeated this mistake on the air) and to an online producer I know. The latter got back to me and said he passed my note up the food chain. I haven’t heard back from Elizabeth yet. I don’t mind as long as she and the rest of the network start reporting the facts correctly.
The public option’s taking enough heat as is. It’d be nice if the press didn’t contribute to the misinformation train by not doing its homework.