A public option as an alternative or addition to subsidized private individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act is gaining momentum on the campaign trail ahead of next year's 2018 midterm Congressional and gubernatorial elections. The public ...
A public option as an alternative or addition to subsidized private individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act is gaining momentum on the campaign trail ahead of next year’s 2018 midterm Congressional and gubernatorial elections.
The public option is being introduced by Democrats running for office and members of Congress as a response to the failed Republican-led Congressional effort to repeal and replace the ACA. The public option is also gaining momentum in states as an alternative to more progressive single-payer healthcare proposals that would have the government control health insurance.
Former President Bill Clinton listens as J.B. Pritzker, a 2018 candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for Illinois Governor, speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on June 13, 2013 in Chicago. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
In Illinois, for example, a Democrat campaigning to unseat the unpopular incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is pushing a lower cost public option to more expensive plans on the ACA’s exchanges.
“I propose a public health insurance option that would allow every Illinois resident the chance to buy low-cost health insurance,” Democrat J.B. Pritzker said in announcing his proposal last week. Pritzker is a billionaire businessman and brother of former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker who served in the last term of Barack Obama’s White House.
Pritzker bases his plan on current costs for a public option to Illinois taxpayers as “about $3,350 per year per adult and $2,108 per child for Medicaid.” A detailed actuarial analysis would be needed, Pritzker said, and analysts say the federal government would likely have to sign off on it. Pritzker’s campaign sees it as a more realistic option for the financially strapped state than a taxpayer supported single-payer expansion of health benefits.
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“As a Medicaid buy-in option, IllinoisCares would require Illinoisans who do not receive federal healthcare subsidies to pay premiums to cover the full cost of Medicaid coverage,” Pritzker’s public option proposal says. “As a result, there should be no additional cost to taxpayers for this program. Participants who qualify for ACA tax credits could use those to help pay for their premiums.”
On the federal level, Democrats in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives see a public option as a way to expand Medicare to younger Americans after GOP legislation, known as Trumpcare, failed.
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