The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Another Note on the House Public Option

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | October 29, 2009 | Paolo Reyna

The Washington Post points out today that, by divorcing public plan rates from Medicare in their final health reform bill, House Democrats might have to hike Medicaid eligibility to 150 percent of poverty as a compensation measure.

The shuffle looks fine on paper. After all, coverage is coverage, right?

Actually, no.

As we’ve pointed out here before, expanding Medicaid might be an attractive way, in the eyes of lawmakers, to tackle the nation’s endemic uninsured problem because it’s cheaper than other insurance. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that those folks will have access to health care — for the very same reason of cost. That is, Medicaid pays doctors and hospitals at such low rates relative to other plans that many providers don’t accept Medicaid patients.

The question Democrats might want to ask as this plan moves forward, then, is this: what good is expanding a program that no one accepts?

Paolo Reyna | Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.

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