Title: Congressman Alan Grayson and His Public Option aka Medicare Buy-In.
Congressman Alan Grayson (D) Fla. has been waging his own war on corporate insurance forces determined to maintain the fiscal "slaver's whip', by proposing a straightforward public option plan through the existing Medicare network. Rather than the 2000+ page proposal endorsed by the President; Grayson's bill is a robust--4 pages.
In short, he proposes to extend Medicare benefits to anyone from birth to age 64 with a simple "buy-in.' Curious to find out more, I sent an email request to interview Grayson upon receiving part of a mass email addressed to various advocacy groups, pushing for H.R. 4789, aka the Medicare Buy-In. A few hours later I was contacted by Grayson's congressional aide Todd Jurkowski, regarding that request. In less than 24 hours, I had my interview. When money usually dictates access to congress or the President--this response was refreshing.
After a few preliminary comments, I asked Grayson how this "Medicare buy-in' plan compares to the President's plan, as well as the single-payer plan recommended by the group Physicians for A National Health Plan.
His first response regarding the President's plan was startling in its simplicity and direct tone.
"Well, the President's plan is lacking a public option, and THIS IS A PUBLIC OPTION. This would be a wonderful supplement to the President's plan, BUT IT ALSO STANDS ON ITS OWN."
In fact, the short title of H.R. 4789 is listed as the "Public Option Act," or the "Medicare You Can Buy Into Act." (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h4789ih.txt.pdf
Amazingly, the mainstream media somehow missed this fact PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE through the Library of Congress.
Grayson then went down the list of reasons the Medicare Buy-In would benefit many Americans. According to the congressman, the medicare buy-in will generate the same cost savings of any large group using already existing Medicare networks of providers and hospitals. Consequently, this introduces an element of competition in a market saturated by a handful of private insurers who now have a virtual de facto monopoly.
To quote Grayson; "This will enormously help people who live in areas of the country where only one or two private insurance companies have 80% of the market or more, which is true in many parts of the country. And also it improves on the President's plan by taking existing valuable resources in the Medicare provider network and opening it up to sixth eighths of the population that cannot benefit from it."
Grayson also points out that this bill forbids any discrimination based on pre-existing conditions or gender differences as exists now in our for profit system. The only distinction in price would be based on 6 age cohorts, ranging from birth to age 64, which reflects the reality of medical care provision costs.
The practice of policy rescission is a particular sore point to Grayson and would be illegal. Grayson explained that far too many people discover this rescission practice after its too late.
"The problem with private health insurance is that you can get all the care you need, providing you don't need it."
He attributes this practice to the profit motive and asserts that private insurers have a "conflict of interest,' which makes them a poor choice for the administration of medical care.
Adding further, this plan has no high deductibles or co-pays, NO LIFETIME CAP, (the President's plan has a lifetime and annual cap and is administered through private insurers); and no second opinions are required.