The backers of the public option in health care claim that they only want to provide a little competition to the same industry the government plans to regulate much more heavily. How would that work in other industries? Would you be tempted to fly Public Option Airlines, for instance, with a guaranteed low price but with a lot less availability thanks to skyrocketing demand and political budget pressures to cut costs? The Independence Institute takes a snarky look at the public option via parable, and says not to expect friendly skies:
I don’t think anyone would argue that the cost pressures of offering service at below cost would eventually force the government to cut services and compensation, if we looked at it in the airline context. It would also drive other providers out of business, leaving us with an Aeroflot analog as our only option. The American Aeroflot would only take us to destinations it decides to serve, too, once all of the other players got forced out of the industry.
Of course, that comparison to the public option and Aeroflot is a little unfair … to Aeroflot. The former Soviet state monopoly has long since been privatized, and it offers much better service and accommodation than in its “heyday” as the USSR’s Public Option Airlines.