Oh my. Is it Christmas already? Your effective use of color in your posts has really gotten me in the Yuletide Spirit...
I follow your logic, but leash your hounds for a second or two. Of course a public option is going to involve rationing. Why wouldn't it? What really amazes me is how much this kind of criticism relies on nothing more than a semantic sleight of hand as well as false logic. Today, when we hear critics of health care reform talking about rationing, what they really mean is limitation - which is a far less pejorative word. Placing limits on the extent of the public option is not only necessary, but logical. As you note, health care, like any resource, is a limited commodity. Do you actually think liberals like myself are so foolish to as to advocate a public plan which promises unlimited benefit, when the resources on which it is founded are limited?
The language which lays out potential limitations on services is clearly laid out in the text of H.R. 3200, conveniently available with comments here. Before you start talking about rationing, do yourself a favor and sift through the bill - it really isn't that difficult, despite what the critics are telling you.
Why do you consider it such a bad thing that government would put limits on a public plan? Aren't you conservatives all for that kind of thing? Look, the real issue is that the American system of health care is inefficient and too expensive when compared with other developed countries. Here's a chart available at The Commonwealth Fund:
If the same kind of price inflation had occurred in the auto industry, that little Scion xA you bought in 2003 at around $13,500 would now be selling for almost $19,000.00. Clearly something is wrong. While you're at Commonwealth, you can scan through the data and see for yourself that health care spending per capita in the U.S. is double or triple what it is other countries.
Steve, health care in this country is headed in the wrong direction. A public option, properly executed, isn't going to solve every problem - nor should we expect it to. What it aims to do is give the 47 million or so uninsured people in this country a shot at an affordable alternative. But it is only one aspect of reform - the larger goal of which is to bring down health care costs for everyone.
Now does this mean we aim to make health care some kind of 1950's, Soviet Union brand of egalitarianism? Of course not. Sometimes I wish you had the same abiding faith in American private enterprise that I do. Because it will necessarily involve all sorts of limitations, the public option is most likely going to result in all sorts of annoying consequences, like longer wait times, restrictions on choice and limited access to very costly, patented medicines. That's where private enterprise steps in and offers innovative alternatives for those who can afford it. Why is that so scary?