There will be a public option in the Healthcare legislation. This will not happen because the government wants to protect the uninsured or provide quality healthcare for all, but because the public option is really a huge new tax on the American taxpayer.
This is true because of the way the federal government handles money which is paid into Social Security or Medicare. Many Americans believe that when they pay their money into these government programs, that the money goes into a lockbox to be held until they are needed. Unfortunately, this is not true. When you pay money into Social Security or Medicare, the money goes straight to the Treasury department who then issues a bond, or promise to pay, to the Social Security or Medicare fund. The government then becomes liable for the debt it has issued. These bonds, called intra-governmental bonds, are held until the social program needs to spend the money, at which point the government buys the bonds back.
For example, if the Social Security Administration takes in 1 trillion dollars in a given year in payroll deductions but only spends $600 Billion in retiree benefits, They are left at the end of the year holding $400 Billion worth of intra-governmental bonds. They are holding a promise from the Treasury department to pay these bonds at some point in the future.
So what happens to the $400 Billion in cash that the Treasury is left holding? Isn't that money held until the program needs it? NO. The government spends it on day to day operations of the federal government. In fact, $40% of the federal government's yearly budget is financed with these intra-governmental bonds.
Public healthcare will be the same. Once the government receives your money, they will replace it with a bond and reap the excess to fund other government projects. In the meantime, if they can minimize the expenditure of the public option, more money will be left that they can spend. The government merely promises to pay these funds back to the public option at some point in the future.
The basic idea is that tomorrow never comes. This huge ponzi scheme simply continues to collect money year after year, paying out the expenditures and releasing the excess to be spent by the Congress. If they need more money, either your deductible will go up or your benefits will be cut.
This is why the Democrats are pushing so hard for the public option in healthcare. It is not politically popular to raise taxes, but by hiding the new tax and calling it public insurance, the American people are fleeced just as certainly as if there had been a tax increase. The people this public option will hit hardest will be the poor and the middle class.
Note: I am not an economist or a expert on the government healthcare proposal, but this is my understanding of how this will work. For more information on intra-governmental bonds, please visit: Wegelin document on American Taxes and Assets (PDF)