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This is the year the Washington Generals will turn it all around!

beowulf's picture

crossposted from a comment at FDL

Everyone would agree that the cleanest way to create a public option is to just expand Medicare. If it starts off as premium-based (with affordability subsidies) and employer premiums were simply redirected from private insurers to the Medicare trust fund, we’d avoid the need for a steep rise in Medicare taxes. Once the insurers have been euthanized (the PO would be subsidized, private insurance would not be), it wouldn’t be difficult to replace premium funding with tax funding down the road. Anyway, that’s exactly the approach Pete Stark’s “public option on steroids" Americare bill took, but I haven’t heard anyone on the Hill (including Stark) advocating it since the House agreed on their Tricommittee bill last Spring (a google blog search doesn’t show any recent comments about it other than my regular plugging of it here).

I understand why Stark would keep his head down (he’s in the middle of an Ethics Committee investigation), but its curious that a 60 page “public option on steroids” bill that’d start Jan. 1, 2011, that had 32 cosponsors last Congress, has no non-revenue elements (with the possible exception of an extraneous “Medigap” section), hasn’t been suggested by any Members to be the House reconciliation bill. I’m not saying the Harlem Globetrotters aren’t a solid team, but I’m starting to think the Washington Generals aren’t even trying to win.

The 2009 version of Americare is co-sponsored by: Earl Blumenauer [D-OR3], Keith Ellison [D-MN5]:Janice Schakowsky [D-IL9]
The 2007 version was cosponsored by: André Carson [D-IN15], Donna Christensen [D-VI], Eleanor Norton [D-DC], Neil Abercrombie [D-HI1], Tammy Baldwin [D-WI2], Xavier Becerra [D-CA31], Corrine Brown [D-FL3], Lois Capps [D-CA23], Julia Carson [D-IN7], Steve Cohen [D-TN9], John Conyers [D-MI14], Bob Filner [D-CA51], Raul Grijalva [D-AZ7], Phil Hare [D-IL17], Maurice Hinchey [D-NY22], Jesse Jackson [D-IL2], Carolyn Kilpatrick [D-MI13], Tom Lantos [D-CA12], Barbara Lee [D-CA9], John Lewis [D-GA5], Michael McNulty [D-NY21], George Miller [D-CA7], Jerrold Nadler [D-NY8], Edward Pastor [D-AZ4], Charles Rangel [D-NY15], Janice Schakowsky [D-IL9], Louise Slaughter [D-NY28], Bennie Thompson [D-MS2], Edolphus Towns [D-NY10], Henry Waxman [D-CA30], Peter Welch [D-VT], Lynn Woolsey [D-CA6]

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Submitted by lambert on

Sounds like a recipe for having the government and the taxpayers handle adverse selection, to me.

Why not advocate for Kennedy's concept of simply lowering the age of eligibility progressively? It's a lot simpler.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

My preference (orientation?) would be to passs HR 676 and let the Federal Reserve pay the bills.

I take vastleft's point that the public option is a political dead end, Its come to mean whatever the speaker wants it to me. My point is that none of the 30-odd House members who've cosponsored Americare have had the temerity to suggest THEIR OWN BILL be used for the reconciliation package. I disagree with Lambert about Kennedy's idea of expanding Medicare slowly by age group (over 5 or 10 years, depending on the bill). The problem is that it'd leaving the insurance industry with hostages for 4 or 9 years, Stark's plan would be open to all uninsured, employers and individually insured on Jan 1, 2011. The adverse selection issue is avoided by financially encouraging employers to drop their private coverage for Americare and by automatically enrolling every adult earning under 200% of FPL and every child regardless of parent's income.