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"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election; the people who COUNT the votes do." -- Joseph Stalin

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blue Dog Supports Medicare for Uninsured Under 65

Has He Come to Our Senses?


First he was for it. Then he was against it. Now Rep. Mike Ross is back on board with a government-run healthcare plan. Sort of.

Ross (D-Ark.), who had emerged as a leader among centrist Blue Dog Democrats opposing the public health insurance option, has suggested something his colleagues consider even more drastic – opening Medicare to those under 65 without insurance.

He made the suggestion in meetings with House Democratic leaders and brought the idea to the closed-door House Democratic Caucus meeting Thursday.

"I — speaking only on behalf of myself — suggested one possible idea could be that instead of creating an entirely new government bureaucracy to administer a public option, Medicare could be offered as a choice," Ross said in a statement to The Hill.

Medicare would then compete with private insurers across the age spectrum. It would be open to those who don't have insurance through their employers, the same people who would be covered by the public option already under discussion.

But Ross said he would want reimbursement for providers to be at a "much greater rate" than it is now. Medicare reimbursement rates have been a sore point for rural lawmakers who feel that Medicare shortchanges their hospitals.

By Mike Soraghan










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