I was catching up on reading and spotted this pretty good (and pretty short) summary from Health Affairs of some of the pro/con arguments concerning a publicly administered health insurance option as part of health care reform. It’s worth a read and I think fairly and intelligently gives a high level summary of the debate.
For another view of the public plan option, which argues that a public plan option is necessary due to significant consolidation in the health insurance and hospital markets, see the Urban Institute’s paper entitled Is the Public Plan Option a Necessary Part of Health Reform? http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411915_public_plan_option.pdf This is one of the prominent arguments that I have heard the Obama administration make. This might seem a paradoxical argument — i.e., you need direct government participation in the insurance market to make it more competitive. Query, given this line of argument and whatever else occurs, if it forbodes future antitrust enforcement in the healthcare insurance and delivery sectors.
PostScript 7/27/2009: Saw this Modern Healthcare discussion of healthcare antitrust enforcement giving some additional color on how healthcare reform and antitrust enforcement may tie together.