Chris Murphy Says Public Option Should Be Plan B


As the U-S Supreme Court considers the fate of the national health care overhaul law, some national politicians are taking positions on what would happen should the law be found unconstitutional.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Democratic congressman and senate candidate Chris Murphy says he'd like to see the public option health plan back on the table.
One of the highest profile aspects of the Affordable Care Act is the requirement that all citizens have health insurance -- that's what's called the individual mandate.  Earlier this spring, the Supreme Court heard an unprecedented three days of argument on the law.  It's expected to rule sometime in June.  Appearing on WNPR's Where We Live, Chris Murphy says he's counting on the court to leave the law intact.  
"I'll admit that I'm not sitting here right now and making a Plan B.  I still have faith in our judicial process that they're going to uphold this law.  But if they don't, I think we go back to some of the issues that we maybe left on the table as we passed health care reform the first time."
And that, he said, could mean offering a public health insurance plan to everyone -- not unlike the healthcare provided to some of the nation's poor, sick, disabled, elderly, and its congressmen.
"If we can't compelled individuals to have private insurance, which saves them and the economy money in the long run, then let's give people the option to buy into Medicare or a Medicare-like system.  I think you would see a flood of both individuals and businesses go into Medicare or a newly-established public option if they had the ability to do that.  Because what they will find is that it would give people better care without profit motivation at lower cost."
Murphy's appearance on Where We Live was the first in the show's Where We Vote series.  On Thursday, Republican Senate Candidate Chris Shays will be the show's guest. 
For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.  
This story is a project of WNPR, NPR, and Kaiser Health News.