Health Care Reform News

Ken AshfordHealth CareLeave a Comment

Well, this much I understand: the Senate defeated the amendment which attempted to ban all abortion-related healthcare coverage from the public option.  So that's good.

The other piece of news escapes me.  It seems that the public option didn't have the votes in the Senate, so a compromise was worked out.  What is it?  This:

Under the agreement, people ages 55 to 64 could ‘buy in’ to Medicare. And a federal agency, the Office of Personnel Management, would negotiate with insurance companies to offer national health benefit plans, similar to those offered to federal employees, including members of Congress. If these private plans did not meet certain goals for making affordable coverage available to all Americans, Senate Democratic aides said, then the government itself would offer a new insurance plan, somewhat like the ‘public option’ in the bill Mr. Reid unveiled three weeks ago.

So it seems to me that we get a two-tiered system: (1) an expansion of Medicare for those 55 and up, and (2) for everyone else, a national not-for-profit plan run by insurance companies but overseen by the OPM.  And if #2 ends up sucking, we get the "public option" run by the government.

I guess it is a good thing although I'm not sure that insurance companies offering a national health benefit plan, which will (I assume) compete with their OWN plans, is workable.  I just don't like insurance companies in the loop.  But I'll keep an open mind.