HEALTH CARE

Only 2 Percent Would Choose Public Option

Was the back and forth about the public option all in vain? Despite epic battles in Congress, a study from the Congressional Budget Office now shows that a trifling 2 percent of Americans under 65 would sign up for the public-option plan proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The compromises made in Congress may have scaled back the public-option component to the point where it is now an ineffective challenger to private insurance companies. "The concern was that the public option would destabilize the bulk of private insurance, but in fact what Congress has fashioned is very targeted," said one economist. The proposal as it stands now, according to the budget office, would attract a small number of less healthy enrollees looking for looser rules on access to specialists.