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Clinton calls for health care public option, Medicare buy-in

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(Bloomberg) — At a campaign stop Monday in Northern Virginia, Hillary Clinton reiterated her support for a government-run health plan in the insurance market, possibly by letting Americans buy into Medicare, to stem the rise of health care costs.

“I’m also in favor of what’s called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age,” the Democratic presidential front-runner said during a roundtable with local residents at the Mug’N Muffin coffee shop. “Which will take a lot of pressure off the costs.”

While Clinton long has supported including a public option in the insurance market, her campaign said she was floating the idea of letting Americans not yet of retirement age buy into the Medicare system as one way of accomplishing that. She’s also open to creating a separate government-run option on the Obamacare exchanges.

The idea of a government-run insurance option long has been favored by the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, but it was stripped from the final version of the legislation that created the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in the face of firm opposition by Republicans and the insurance industry.

Clinton has endorsed a public option on her website, though it seldom comes up on the campaign trail. She also discussed her proposal to ease the cutoff point for PPACA subsidies, which the law makes available to Americans making 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

She was responding to a question from a resident who complained that she’s just above the cutoff level to enjoy subsidies on the PPACA public exchanges.

“There’s just a cutoff, instead of what I’d like to see which is a kind of gradual diminishment,” Clinton said. “People shouldn’t just—once they get to a certain income level shouldn’t lose all their benefits. That’s something I’m looking at.”

See also: 

High-income uninsured people: 4.4 million are still out there

Private health insurers struggle to reach high earners


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