Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More on the public option evolution

A public option compromise could be in the works, as Senators look to their own health plan as a model for the government-run insurance.

Instead of a purely public option, they are looking at the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (which covers some 8 million government employees – including Congress) as a possible blue print. This could make the public option piece of the legislation a little more palpable for its opponents.
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The idea is the option would provide several different private insurance plans, but it would be overseen by the federal government which negotiates prices – as is done now with the federal employees’ program.

As the NT Times notes, “Giving many Americans the same coverage as members of Congress is a politically potent – and potentially appealing – concept for both lawmakers and the people they serve.”

Another idea being floated is allowing uninsured people age 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare. It’s not a new idea, but it’s coming up now as a way to keep liberal backing for the bill as the public option morphs into this more private-nonprofit option, said the WSJ health blog.

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