As the move to reform health care gathers speed, opponents of government-backed public potion are speaking out.  The introduction of the Affordable Health Choices Act by Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) elicited a quick response from opponents of a public plan.   “Far too many Americans, 47 million by most estimates, were uninsured this past year,” says Charles Symington, SVP of government affairs for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA). “Furthermore, the cost of health insurance is on an unsustainable upward path, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) projecting that health care spending will total $2.5 trillion this year and increase to $4.4 trillion by 2018. Something needs to be done soon, but this bill is not the answer and unfortunately doesn’t even address the ‘$64,000 question’: how to pay for the cost of enacting the healthcare reforms.”

The IIABA contends that a public plan would eventually force private insurers from the market and cites a 2009 study from the Falls Church, Va.-based Lewin Group, that estimates if the public plan’s reimbursement rates are similar to Medicare, an estimated 119 million people will drop from private insurance plans and migrate to the public plan. 

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