This is certainly a fascinating and encouraging development. A House Blue Dog, Rep. Mike Ross (D-AK), has come out in favor of simply opening up Medicare to everyone (with higher reimbursement rates) rather than setting up a new public insurance plan.
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.
From a conservadem? Remarkable. I think Ross knows which way the wind is blowing and might be searching for a way to prevent the creation of another bureaucracy. So, in that regard, opening up Medicare could be defined as "centrist" -- as well as progressive.
Public option aside, this was always the better idea. Simply build upon what's already there, not unlike the expansion of Social Security and SCHIP. I wonder what a whip count and CBO score would look like.