Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Just Make It Simple



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.