"I hear my colleagues complain about government-sponsored health care," Weiner said. "You know what? I am half-tempted to offer an amendment to eliminate Medicare. Then what would you do? What do you think Medicare is? It’s government sponsored health care and it’s one of the most popular programs around."
"Now it’s got problems and we should fix it but all of the concern well the public option is going to crush private insurance.
Do you think consumers are not smart enough to choose the best one and if they choose the best option doesn’t that tell you something? Are your constituents only smart enough to vote for you but they’re not smart enough to pick a health care plan for themselves? I think they’re pretty smart" [Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), statement before House Energy and Commerce Committee, quoted by Elizabeth Benjamin, "Weiner's 'Alice in Wonderland' Health Care Reform Moment," New York Daily News: The Daily Politics, 2009.07.17].
Hear hear. We've labored under a public option for a sizable and electorally powerful portion of our population for four decades. It hasn't put private insurers out of business. It hasn't resulted in the older quarter of our population suffering a collapse in health care quality. If it's good enough for Grandpa, it's good enough for me.
Weiner also hearkens to President Obama's inescapable logic: if a public option is inherently inferior, the market will kill it. If private insurers are offering a superior product, the public option is no threat to it.
But if you seriously believe a public health coverage option is a bad idea, then be consistent and call for an end to Medicare. Go ahead, Senator Thune. You want government out of other businesses: add an amendment to your Government Ownership Exit Plan to pull the government out of medical coverage for senior citizens as well.