Democrats introduce public option health care bill

Congressional Democrats are introducing legislation to allow states to set up a public option for health-care insurance.

The legislation, spearheaded by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M), is the latest idea from Democrats as the party tries to plot its next steps after blocking the GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

“Our objective should be to have a competition of ideas. … I think it’s a golden age in terms of policy ideas when it comes to Democrats and health care,” Schatz told reporters.

{mosads}He added that “we want to make sure that people understand that we have a vision for the future.”

The legislation would let states create a public option by expanding Medicaid eligibility to any individual who wants to buy into the program.

The bill has 17 cosponsors in the Senate, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has offered his own single-payer government health-care plan, and Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.), who have been mentioned as possible 2020 White House candidates.

The Democratic legislation faces little chance of passing in a GOP-controlled Senate. But Democrats have been pitching their own ideas as they head toward the 2018 midterm election and 2020 White House race as progressives demand potential candidates back single-payer health care.

Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) spearheaded a bill earlier this year that would allow individuals, age 55 to 64, to buy into Medicare. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Brian Schatz Cory Booker Debbie Stabenow
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