Congressman Alan Grayson, (D-Orlando), today introduced a bill (H.R. 4789) which would give the option to buy into Medicare to every citizen of the United States. The “Public Option Act,” also known as the “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act,” would open up the Medicare network to anyone who can pay for it.[…]
The bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish enrollment periods, coverage guidelines, and premiums for the program. Because premiums would be equal to cost, the program would pay for itself.
“The government spent billions of dollars creating a Medicare network of providers that is only open to one-eighth of the population. That’s like saying, ‘Only people 65 and over can use federal highways.’ It is a waste of a very valuable resource and it is not fair. This idea is simple, it makes sense, and it deserves an up-or-down vote,” Congressman Grayson said.
In keeping with the “Grayson style,” the bill is clear and concise. It is only four pages. You can read the bill here.
A Medicare buy in is a great idea. A long shot bill, but I agree with Yglesias’ opinion that its a good start. It would help to steady the burden on the US government because paying consumers would be paying a premium and wouldn’t necessarily be the higher risk, health care intensive group that seniors are, thereby diversifying the Medicare risk pool. I would hope the premiums for voluntary buyers of Medicare would be higher than the rates paid by seniors to help the Medicare entitlement remain solvent into the “out years” of any plan scored around Grayson’s proposal, and I would imagine these premiums would still be much less than private insurers rates.