Ross Says He Once Suggested A Medicare Buy-In As A Replacement For Separate Public Option

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October 15, 2009 2:39 pm
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Earlier today, The Hill ran with an eye-catching statement from Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR)–the chair of the Blue Dog’s health care task force who recently announced he doesn’t support a public option.

“I — speaking only on behalf of myself — suggested one possible idea could be that instead of creating an entirely new government bureaucracy to administer a public option, Medicare could be offered as a choice,” Ross said.Under Ross’s suggestion, consumers under 65 would be allowed to buy insurance directly from Medicare, and Medicare would pay significantly higher reimbursement rates for those patients. But it’s unclear when Ross made this suggestion, and it clearly hasn’t gained any traction.

An aide to a Blue Dog tells me that the idea isn’t reflective of the ongoing discussions within the caucus (Ross’s statement–“speaking only on behalf of myself”–suggests as much). And, it’s worth noting that a number of Blue Dogs are fairly supportive of the public option, which is projected to be a big money saver.

All in all, a surprising statement from a Blue Dog who often makes surprises, but notreflective of a public option shift in the House.

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