I'm a health-care provider and a consumer of health services. Currently I get my health care coverage by virtue of my service with the University of North Carolina here in Chapel Hill.
When I started working for UNC in 1990, I paid $152 a month for coverage for my family, and I had four plans from which I could choose. Deductibles and copays were low. Now, 19 years later, I have no choice. There's only one plan, with high deductibles and copays, and the monthly cost for family coverage is $533. That's a 350 percent increase, and my choice of providers has been limited by a preferred provider clause.
I have read that some want to limit the availability of a public option health plan to those who do not have employer-based coverage available. That won't fly with me. I want a choice of plans, of providers, of premiums. Right now I have no choice.
Real health-care reform must include a public option health plan open to all if there is to be some real competition to the profit-driven companies that are taking us to the cleaners.