Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grayson Introduces Bill Allowing All Citizens to Buy Into Medicare

Congressman Alan Grayson, (D-Orlando) introduced a bill (H.R. 4789) that would give all citizens of the United to buy into Medicare. Otherwise known as the "Public Option Act," this bill doesn't give people subsidies but simply allows people to buy into the Medicare system at cost. As Grayson pointed out in his speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, it wouldn't force people to use the public option but simply gives people an option who don't trust the insurance companies to before actual patient care before their profits. To help provide some context of how insurance companies put profits before patients, he even spoke about how his insurance company refused to cover the costs of the birth of one of his children.

The initial reaction that I've heard from sources on the Hill is that they don't think this has much of a chance of actually moving forward. What it could help to do, however, is put pressure on the Senate to actually pass the public option through reconciliation. Although there is some questions about whether we would have the 50 votes to do so, Bernie Sanders did tell a group of bloggers this afternoon that he thought there would be enough votes for it to pass. Considering that only 41 Senators have publicly said they'd support a public option, perhaps Grayson's measure would help put pressure on the extra 9 senators that are needed in order for the reconciliation option to work.

In case those Senators need a little reminder of why the public option is important, here's the video of Grayson's speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.

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