The so-called public option in the House bill is not an alternative for anyone offered an employer’s plan, or getting VA, Medicare or Medicaid. It is only allowed for people uninsured, and was one of many choices.
The public plan would have taken years to implement under the House Bill, and was really an extra alternative for the 47 million forced to buy insurance under this bill.
It would not reform healthcare because it would not bargain with the drug companies, and would probably be administered by insurance companies (just like Medicare, which outsources to insurers to add more “private” profits).
Private insurers would probably have virtually killed the public plan by running better ads, and the government would have weakened the public option by offering a lousy plan on purpose.