Activists are disappointed (to put it lightly) that health insurance legislation, and not health care reform, passed after a year of intense debate and discussion at the highest levels of government. A few solidly progressive items made it through the process; many more did not. Among those that did not is a public option, to say nothing of single-payer.
Flying somewhat below the back-and-forth arguments of whether or not a public option should have been a part of the legislation and what form it might or might not take is an effort that should be lauded. Rep. Alan Grayson (D,FL-08) has a piece of legislation that accomplishes many progressive goals: H.R. 4789, the “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act”. Rep. Grayson has done what many activists wish our elected officials would do: show some leadership.
H.R. 4789 has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. It has already garnered 80 co-sponsors. In answer to complaints in the Colorado blogosphere, I would point out that both Rep. Jared Polis (D,CO-02) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D,CO-01) are among those co-sponsors. Notably, Rep. Polis was an original co-sponsor, another sign of progressive leadership.
This likely isn’t going to be the sole effort to keep the public option discussion going as we move forward. However, it is concrete and it is available to us right now. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has a tool up so people can ask their Representatives to join as a co-sponsor to the bill. While CO-01 and CO-02 have been taken care of, there are plenty of other representatives who could sign on and I’m sure we all have friends and family in other states to point this to. I am unaware of similar action coming out from the Senate. It would be refreshing to see a Senator present something fashioned closely to H.R. 4789.
Cross-posted at SquareState.