It would be a useful exercise to list all the current "public options", limiting them only to those literally providing insurance of some kind.
First, for the yahoos who disrupted the town halls in Maryland:
There is the Injured Workers Insurance Fund, or "IWIF". http://www.iwif.com/html/about...
There is the Uninsured Employers Fund, or "UEF". http://www.qis.net/~uef/
There is the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, or "MAIF." https://www.maif.net/emaif/
I would also characterize the low-cost health insurance, and the campus clinics, that public universities provide for their students as a type of "public option." Wouldn't you?
Now, let's go federal.
First of all, there are Social Security and Medicare themselves, which should be enough. But there are more:
How about Tricare? http://www.tricare.mil/
The Veterans Health Administration? http://www1.va.gov/health/
Indian Health Service
National Institutes of Health
There is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). http://www.hrsa.gov/Vaccinecom...
And what about the National Flood Insurance Program? http://www.fema.gov/business/n...
It was fascinating to listen to Representative Taylor from Mississippi in a health care town hall meeting, opposing health insurance reform and supporting flood insurance and the trillion dollar Iraq War in the same breath. Man! Why is it more important to insure the beach houses of the well to do than to provide health insurance to the uninsured?
What about Alaska, the home of stalwart conservatives like Sarah Palin? There is ACHIA!
Interestingly, in an interview the Director of the Commonwealth Connector in Massachusetts denied that that was a public option, while at the same time stating that of the 430,000 uninsured in Massachusetts, 53% are getting public subsidies to buy private insurance.
Massachusetts already had nonprofit health insurance entities which were very efficient, so there was no need to displace them.
I would still call the Commonwealth Connector a "public option", only it is a public health insurance brokerage, not a government-run health insurance entity.