We have public options now. Are they any good?

ProPublica’s Sabrina Shankman reviews America’s existing “public options” for health care, finding mixed results and limited utility. In addition to Medicare and Medicaid, Shankman reviews a few less prominent institutions:

  • The armed forces Tricare plan: Covers all active members of the military, retirees and their families, regardless of preexisting conditions. If you stick to military treatment facilities, it’s cheap.
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  • Veterans Health Administration: Veterans who meet its standards are guaranteed high quality care, but funding is tight at the VA right now.
  • Indian Health Service: Allows American Indians and Alaska Natives free access to reservation clinics… until the service’s funding runs out, as it does about halfway through each year.
  • Healthcare Group of Arizona: It was founded to provide afforable insurance to certain small businesses, but a lack of funds and climbing deductibles mean that many employers will be better off looking to the private market anyway.

Reuters has a handy summary of the key provisions of the latest bill likely to be considered by the House of Representatives.

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