From TPM Reader BR …
You’re right that it makes no sense to not counter lies from Armey about the public option with “expanding Medicare access to those under 65” rhetoric.
What I don’t understand is why nobody has talked about Kennedy’s Medicare for All act, which is an elegant solution for just that - a public option in which folks can buy into Medicare.
The reasons this needs to be a big part of the public debate:
- This was Kennedy’s last piece of unfinished life work. All those reporters who claim to know what Kennedy wanted are doing a disservice by not citing Kennedy’s own legislation on the matter.
- Kennedy himself was personally pushing for a public option in the form of Medicare for All (this negates any claim that Kennedy would have not supported a public option).
- This is an example of what he would have wanted to pass (he reintroduced the bill, so it wasn’t just some one-time idea of his).
- The bill was amazing in its simplicity, countering arguments that all health reform components are by nature arcane and indecipherable: every 5 years (every 2 years in another version) the eligibility for Medicare would be lowered by 10 years (and raised from below by 10 years), with those under 65 being asked to check a box on their taxes if they signed up for Medicare (to be charged for it). It’s a simple model for the public option, and hard(er) to lie about.
- I believe David Waldman at Daily Kos was correct when he pointed out that it would make sense for the public option to be the “Kennedy plan”; irrespective of the politics, it would make sense because Kennedy’s own bill was a public option bill, not a comprehensive reform package with 100 moving parts.
This is an idea whose time has come, and there ought to be robust public discussion about it.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.