Last July, Anthony Weiner proposed an amendment in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to replace HR 3200 with HR 676 ("Medicare for All"), as diaried here and here. He withdrew the amendment when Speaker Nancy Pelosi and chair Henry Waxman promised a full vote on HR 676 on the House floor this Fall.
It's fall now. I'd like to see HR 676 come up for a vote, and soon. So far I haven't heard of a definite date.
Putting the spotlight on "Medicare for All" will inject some needed perspective into the current debate; wider understanding of "Medicare for All" can only increase support for an inclusive Public Option.
As most Kossacks know, HR 676, a.k.a. "Medicare For All," expands medicare to cover all Americans. Simple, concise, direct. As an added bonus, the bill is 41 pages long (compared to 1017 pages for HR 3200).
A full-fledged debate and vote on HR 676 is great advertising for a truly inclusive public option, one that competes with the private plans, and one that allows anyone who wants to, to opt in.
This can only help progressives hold the line on a strong, inclusive public option.
As John Nichols wrote in the Nation yesterday the CPC is modeling its public option on a medicare-like alternative:
While there is no question that the right reform remains a single-payer "Medicare for All" system that provides quality care for all Americans while eliminating insurance company profiteering, if the best that can be hoped for is a government-supported alternative to the corporate options, then it should be robust enough to compete.
That's what Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, is proposing on behalf of the CPC, which now numbers more than 80 House members.
Grijalva says, "The CPC will do its best to ensure that the public option is as close to Medicare as we can get it."
To that end, he says caucus members will use their key committee positions and needed votes to promote "a robust public option that:
•Enacts concurrently with other significant expansions of coverage and must not be conditioned on private industry actions.
•Consists of one entity, operated by the federal government, which sets policies and bears the risk for paying medical claims to keep administrative costs low and provide a higher standard of care.
•Be made available to all individuals and employers across the nation without limitation.
•Allows patients to have access to their choice of doctors and other providers that meet defined participation standards, similar to the traditional Medicare model, promotes the medical home model and eliminates lifetime caps on benefits.
•Has the ability to structure the provider rates to promote quality care, primary care, prevention, chronic care management and good public health.
•Utilizes the existing infrastructure of successful public programs, such as Medicare, in order to maintain transparency and consumer protections for administering processes, including payment systems, claims and appeals.
•Establishes or negotiates rates with pharmaceutical companies, durable medical equipment providers and other providers to achieve the lowest prices for consumers.
•Receives a level of subsidy and support that is no less than that received by private plans.
•Ensures premiums are priced at the lowest levels possible, not tied to the rates of private insurance plans.
"As close to Medicare as we can get it," as Rep. Grijalva says. The CPC is working hard to keep a genuinely inclusive, medicare-like public option on the table. Let's help them out by demanding that vote on HR 676.
Just for fun, in case you missed it, here's Anthony Weiner on Morning Joe last month:
Let's get that vote on the floor, so that more people can have a look at what medicare-like public option has to offer.