Congressman Alan Grayson, (D-Orlando), today introduced a bill (H.R. 4789) which would give the option to buy into Medicare to every citizen of the United States. The “Public Option Act,” also known as the “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act,” would open up the Medicare network to anyone who can pay for it.
Congressman Grayson said, “Obviously, America wants and needs more competition in health coverage, and a public option offers that. But it’s just as important that we offer people not just another choice, but another kind of choice. A lot of people don’t want to be at the mercy of greedy insurance companies that will make money by denying them the care that they need to stay healthy, or to stay alive. We deserve to have a real alternative.”
The bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish enrollment periods, coverage guidelines, and premiums for the program. Because premiums would be equal to cost, the program would pay for itself.
I think it’s pretty clear that this isn’t going to happen in the 111th Congress. But it’s a good idea. And it normally takes a few years of support-building to get something major like this through congress. Would be nice to start seeing how many members and Senators are willing to sign on. I note that if the big ObamaCare bill passes (no sure thing) then supplementing it with Grayson’s Medicare You Can Buy Into Act would be equivalent to adding the long-dead “robust” public option—a much better policy than the level playing field public option that’s been dominating discussion for the past 6-9 months.