A Blue Dog Democrat Leader Calls for Expansion of Medicare

Conservative Democrat Representative Mike Ross of Arkansas has suggested to Democratic leaders to expand Medicare to the 30 million uninsured. Ross who opposed the creation of a public option is now in favor of the expansion to include those under 65 year old to get health care.

In a meeting with Democratic leaders at the House Democrat caucus on Thursday. Ross said “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.

The plan would have Medicare compete with private insurers. It would cover those whose did receive coverage by their employers. Ross call for a larger reimbursement to doctors and other medical practitioners. Rural doctors have complained about Medicare reimbursement being to low.

Other “Blue Dog Democratic member of the House of Representative distanced themselves from the proposal.”There has never been a discussion about that among the Blue Dogs,” said Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), the Blue Dogs’ new co-chairman for communications.

Democratic leaders are concerned that Ross’s plan is too liberal and sound like a public option which many opposed.

“The idea of a public option was to provide competition, but opening up Medicare would be the precursor to single-payer,” said House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). “This may be an issue of semantics, but it would be very difficult to implement.”

Republicans in the House say Ross has capitulated to the liberals in the House leadership.

The Hill


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