An editorial in today's Philadelphia Daily News does a good job making the case for a public option in health care reform:
So at the least, Americans should have a choice between private insurers and what has been dubbed a "public option" - a Medicare-style program or even something along the lines of the federal employees' insurance system, which is administered through private insurers but paid for by the government.
The key is to provide a program that doesn't divert significant amounts of premiums to CEO salaries, administrative costs, shareholder dividends - and financial incentives to deny you care.
It's fascinating to watch private insurers scramble to head off actual reform: Now, they promise, they will be good: They will no longer discriminate against people because of pre-existing conditions. They won't charge women higher premiums. Regulate us, they plead, just don't make us compete. But private insurers would have to be regulated in ways never seen before to repair the system. Competition might force changes no politician could.