Friday, October 16, 2009

A Public Option Solution!

As we head into the second half of October, the health care debate continues raging on.

In the Senate, Max Baucus, Chris Dodd, Harry Reid and Rahm Emanuel are merging the bills reported by the Finance and the HELP committees into one.

On the House side, Nancy Pelosi, along with the chairs of the three committees who put forth their health care bills, will come up with one merged piece of legislation.

The big question still hanging over all of the negotiations is "What about the public option?"

Well, the best suggestion I've heard in a long time came from Mike Ross (D-AK), head of the Blue Dog coalition of conservadems! Apparently, yesterday, he suggested an idea that would make me very happy!

From "The Hill":

Blue Dog Rep. Mike Ross, who made headlines by rejecting a compromise he'd negotiated on a public health insurance option, has suggested to Democratic leaders that the government-run Medicare program be opened to all Americans.

Ross (D-Ark.) has made the suggestion in meetings with House Democratic leaders and brought the idea to the closed-door House Democratic Caucus meeting Thursday.

"I -- speaking only on behalf of myself -- suggested one possible idea could be that instead of creating an entirely new government bureaucracy to administer a public option, Medicare could be offered as a choice to compete alongside private insurers for those Americans eligible to enter the national health insurance exchange, but at a reimbursement rate much greater than current Medicare rates," Ross said in a statement to The Hill.

It makes so much sense, that it's probably doomed before it even gets started.

Democratic Strategist and author of The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came To Be, Mike Lux authored a piece for Huffington Post today, "Can Progressives and Conservatives Agree on Health Care Reform?" about this idea. He'll join me tonight to talk about it.

I'll also check in Larisa Alexandrova of managing editor for investigative news at Raw Story, who also blogs at She regularly visits with us on Friday nights to talk about the stories she covered during the week that's wrapping up. We'll do that tonight, but we'll also talk about Larisa's own personal struggle with health insurance.

She's in the same position as millions of other American citizens, and it's just plain wrong. By the way, I'll likely be joining those ranks in February, when my COBRA runs out.

I'll close out the show with an interview with journalist and author Olivia Gentile, who's written a lovely book called Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds. Honestly, I have no interest in bird watching... or rather, I didn't before finding out about this book. I think you'll enjoy the story too.

Listen live by clicking here, and be sure to click on the link below the player to join us in the chat room! And, by all means, join in the discussion by calling 866-303-2270.