Romney's Health Plan: The New 'Public Option'

Mitt's approach to Medicare looks a lot like Dems' original proposition: Ezra Klein
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2011 2:39 PM CST
Mitt Romney's Medicare Plan Effectively Offers Public Option
Mitt Romney addresses the Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)

He wouldn’t put it this way, but Mitt Romney’s newly unveiled health care plan effectively offers the public option Republicans so opposed in 2009. Romney proposes providing seniors an as-yet-undetermined lump sum to pay either for Medicare or one of many private health plans. This could take his party “in an awkward direction,” writes Ezra Klein in the Washington Post: Passage of the plan would prompt calls to open it to “younger and younger Americans.”

Were the plan to go younger, we’d see something very like what Democrats originally wanted to include, before the public option was shot down. Romney’s plan, which Republicans such as Paul Ryan have enthusiastically supported, exposes an “ideological overlap” between the parties, Klein notes. “Liberals want to bring these ideas to the private-insurance system, not to Medicare, and conservatives want to bring their ideas to Medicare but not to the private-insurance system.” Either way, if it’s implemented and it works, it will likely spread “systemwide.” (More Mitt Romney stories.)

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