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"So how do we reconcile this with the claim that a public option will run all of the private plans out of business?"

Canada did not allow private insurance.

The system was so bad that people started to revolt, and now private plans are being 'allowed' in some of the provinces and spreading fast.

Of course, Canadians had the option to seek for pay medical treatment south of the border in the US, and many many thousands did when denied or delayed by their own government.

England is just starting with private pay. The system is so horrible that those who can afford private pay are paying out of their own pockets to get treatment.

Switzerland has 4 companies that provide insurance. everyone MUST sign up. No insurance, no treatment. Simple. Worse, you face a VERY big penalty for not having insurance.

In France, they have 'supplemental insurance'. The gov't only pays about 70% of your bill. You pay it first, then you submit to the gov't for a re-imbursement. They give you about 70% of what you spent back. Then, if you have a supplemental policy, it mmight give you more back.

The majority of French ALSO pay out of their pocket for their supplement, on top of paying 7.5% of their income for 'social services'.

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