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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Most people don't have nearly as much choice over their health insurance plans as Republicans and moderate Democrats sometimes suggest.

Between the lines: People who get their insurance from their employer — the majority of people with private insurance — are often given few plans to choose from, if they're given any choice at all.

What they're saying: This came up in former Vice President Joe Biden's interview with the New York Times' editorial board.

  • "If you like your plan, you can keep it, assuming — I should add the obvious — if your employer doesn’t take it away from you."

The comment is a nod to how much control employers have over their employees' health insurance.

  • Many workers are presented with just one plan option, meaning they don't have any choice at all. Others will have multiple plans, but all from the same insurance company.
  • Employers frequently shop around for better deals, but employees are stuck with choosing between the limited choices their employers present to them.
  • And while competition is improving in the individual market, most people who buy insurance on their own still have only a handful of insurers to choose from.

Biden has proposed a public insurance plan that would be open to people with employer-based insurance — which experts say could lead to some employers deciding not to offer their own coverage.

  • For workers who have generous employer coverage now, a public option with limited provider participation would probably be a bad deal.
  • But if most doctors and hospitals participate in the public option, workers may not end up with any fewer choices than they have now.

Between the lines: "In the current political debate, choice has mostly been about whether you can choose private insurance or a public Medicare-like plan. But, that in many ways obscures the choice that probably ultimately matters to most people, which is choice of doctor or hospital," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt said.

Go deeper: Employers aren't changing their health benefits

Go deeper

NRA files for bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for voluntary bankruptcy as part of a restructuring plan.

Driving the news: The gun rights group said it would reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment." Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

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