Families USA Responds to Congressional Request for Information on the Public Option
Families USA supports public option policies, and we believe they offer tremendous potential to achieve these important goals. With careful policy design, a public option could be especially valuable to the historically disadvantaged and marginalized populations that continue to encounter disproportionate barriers to coverage and care.
Several features of public option legislation will be important to accomplish these goals, regardless of where and how such an option is deployed. The use of administrative price-setting, combined with strong incentives for providers to serve beneficiaries of a public option, is key to a sustainable public option that achieves significant cost savings for families and for the health care system as a whole.
It will also be essential for a public option to cover comprehensive benefits, including but not limited to services classified as essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. Full parity of coverage between mental and physical health care is likewise fundamental, as are limits on consumer premium and out-of-pocket costs. The public option should be a vehicle for solving affordability problems in both private and public coverage, not perpetuating them.