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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

 

forget the public option - I want Medicare

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, March 11, 2010 permalink View blog reactions

The public option is almost assuredly not going to be in the final package for health reform, and that's a good thing because it's existence imperils passage of this historic and incredibly progressive legislation. It represents a huge - and long overdue - leftwards shift for American social policy, despite the public option's absence. And note again that the PO would not have been available to everyone anyway, so how progressive was it really?


The ultimate progressive health reform would have been single-payer insurance, but that was taken off the table (with good reason) by President Obama. However, since Medicare is already a single-payer system, it's possible to leverage that existing system for creating a "single payer option" which would not be as disruptive as true single payer, would provide a more genuinely public option than the public option, and possibly even help reduce structural deficits. That would simply be to allow people under age 65 to "buy-in" to Medicare.


Think about this. Medicare caters to people over 65, whose medical expenses cost more than young peoples'. By allowing yong people to buy in, who presumably will have less demands on payouts due to better health, then the financial situation of Medicare actually improves.


And legislation to achieve Medicare buy-in is quite a simple change, which can exist separate from the comprehensive (and still necessary) reform in the broader health care package. In fact it's already been introduced to the House by Rep Alan Grayson - clocking in at only 4 pages.


In fact, there's an online petition by Rep Grayson to encourage Speaker Pelosi to bring the Medicare buy-in to a vote - just go to WeWantMedicare.com to sign it.

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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.