Will there at last be a public option for health care?

Finally, the Democrats are stepping up to offer a real alternative to the Republican’s do-nothing approach and their own save-the-insurance-companies approach.

On March 9, Congressman Alan Grayson, D-Fla., introduced a bill (H.R. 4789 — the Public Option Act, or the Medicare You Can Buy Into Act) which would make it possible for any US citizen or permanent resident to buy into Medicare.

Grayson said,

Obviously, America wants and needs more competition in health coverage, and a public option offers that. But it’s just as important that we offer people not just another choice, but another kind of choice. A lot of people don’t want to be at the mercy of greedy insurance companies that will make money by denying them the care that they need to stay healthy, or to stay alive. We deserve to have a real alternative.”

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.

I signed the petition calling for at least a vote on Grayson’s proposal. If you agree, sign it too and to urge Speaker Pelosi to allow that vote.

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