It's just another step toward crowding out private health insurance.
Greg Mankiw wants to know the answer to the question, too.
"It seems to me that this passage, like most discussion of the issue, leaves out the answer to the key question: Would the public plan have access to taxpayer funds unavailable to private plans?
If the answer is yes, then the public plan would not offer honest competition to private plans. The taxpayer subsidies would tilt the playing field in favor of the public plan. In this case, the whole idea of a public option seems to be a disingenuous route toward a single-payer system, which many on the left favor but recognize is a political nonstarter.
If the answer is no, then the public plan would need to stand on its own financially and, in essence, would be a private nonprofit plan.
But then what's the point? If advocates of a public plan want to start a nonprofit company offering health insurance on better terms than existing insurance companies, nothing is stopping them from doing so right now."
In other words, Team Obama is pulling the old smoke and mirrors routine here, too.