Medicare, Part E (for “everyone”)

When the public option is framed as “something like Medicare,” 65% of the voters like it. So why are proponents still pushing the phrase “public option”?

I don’t think much of the idea that “framing” is everything in politics, but there’s no doubt that labels matter.  Recently I speculated that the “public option” would be less controversial if it were tied to the popular Medicare program, which is, after all, a government-run  health-insurance plan.

What I didn’t know was that CBS News has been polling on that question.  Latest results (courtesy of TPM):

Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan – something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get – that would compete with private health insurance plans?

Favor 65%
Oppose 26%

Why the folks who really want the public option aren’t referring to it as “Medicare for everyone” is a puzzle.  They ought to drop the phrase “public option” as quickly as the Republicans dropped “nuclear option” and “Social Security privatization.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

7 thoughts on “Medicare, Part E (for “everyone”)”

  1. Not directly relevant to this post, but does anyone happen to know about the dust-up over the fact that Humana was ordered to stop sending misleading information about the changes in Medicare Advantage to its beneficiaries? Mitch McConnell is all bent out of shape about this "outrageous gag order" by the oppressive Obama administration. Brant Bozell is hollering about the blindness of the media (with the exception of ABC) failing to report this story.

    Any fact-based rebuttals to all this? I think that there are restrictions on lobbying by firms that receive tax dollars, but an expert opinion on this would be most welcome!

  2. Let's see, it provides more choices (Medicare doesn't have "provider networks"), at lower cost, doesn't deny care based on pre-existing conditions or rescissions and doesn't drop your coverage too sick to work. However it will do to insurance companies what the internet did to travel agencies.

    So yeah, how can anyone expect Obama to propose something so crazy?

  3. Advocates have been using this framing for years – time to go viral – all the public option automailers need to use this as a header!

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