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Expansion of Medicare? Buy in Instead of Public Option?

Expansion of Medicare?  Buy in Instead of Public Option?

Washington Post reporter, Ezra Klein reports that his sources confirm that there has been discussion amongst the Senate surrounding a compromise in the healthcare debate. Pro public option forces have been stymied by Republicans and Conservative Democrats who are opposed to the public option (read: representing their wealthy insurance industry patrons instead of the folks who elected them). The public option has been chipped away at with "compromise" offers such as Senator Olympia Snowe's trigger plan and Ben Nelson's insurance exchange plan; both of which would do little to stem the skyrocketing costs of healthcare.

Klein reports that the discussion has turned to a plan to allow younger people to buy into Medicare, the enormously popular, single-payer plan currently only available to those over 65 years old. While the details of this proposal have not yet been officially released, proponents of the public option may be compelled to get behind this plan as an alternative. The severeley compromised "triggered" and "exchange-based" versions of the public option that have any chance of passing over the obstruction of wholly-owned tools like Connecticut's Joe Lieberman, would be worthless and probably do more damage politically to the Dems than good.

The idea of allowing more people to purchase into Medicare is a good one. Even if initially, it was only offered to people 55 years old and up. The positive effects of adding more younger, healthier people onto the rolls of Medicare would illustrate how much more robust a single payer plan is than a public option competing with for profit insurers like Aetna (AET), Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare (UNH)and others. Perhaps after two years of success with this kind of reform, the ground would be amply prepared for allowing everyone to participate in Medicare and the US could join the rest of the developed world, offering a social safety net by way of single payer healthcare for all.

Healthcare should be like police departments, education and fire departments - not for profit and available to every American.


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Posted-In: Congress healthcare reform public option US SenatePolitics