A study by the Lewin Group concluded that if individuals were allowed to buy into Medicare (or a new public health insurance option based on Medicare), it would save the average family of four $2,500 a year. You would receive the exact same level of benefits but for $2,500 less. Depending on how you structure the public option, the savings for a family of four could range from $2,500 to only several hundred dollars a year. The important point is that everyone agrees (supporters, critics, industry, analysts, politicians) that a real public plan would be cheaper than insurance from a for-profit insurance company.
Senator Grassley, along with eight other GOP senators, wrote a letter laying out a clear marker. If health care reform includes a public option, it will not get Republican support. They are demanding that Americans not be given a public health insurance option that would save them thousands of dollars as the price for “bipartisanship”. If health care reform is passed with bipartisan support (i.e. without a public option), it will cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year.
Democrats have large margins in both the House and the Senate. The overwhelming majority of Democrats support giving Americans the choice of a public option that would save them money. They do not need a single Republican vote to pass health care reform. Having a few Republicans votes will only allow Democrats to claim that the bill is “bipartisan”. Bipartisanship is only political window dressing. It will do nothing to improve health care legislation or help the millions of Americans struggling with the cost of health care.
The question is how much the Democrats will make you pay so that they can claim their bill is bipartisan. How much money will it cost you, so that they can get a political talking point and a nice photo op? If Democrats kill or cripple the public option to gain the support of a handful of Republican votes, they will be forcing you to pay $2,500 more a year simply for political window dressing. How high will the "bipartisanship tax: be?