Clinton supports Public Option/Medicare Buy-In even when she "doesn't need to anymore."
Given that Hillary Clinton has long supported a "public option" being included with the ACA and that she reiterated support for the public option (at the state level, since she recognizes that the odds of getting anything useful through a GOP-controlled Congress at the federal level is likely pretty slim) in late February, this piece by Sahil Kapur of Bloomberg Politics may seem like a nonstory:
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 let 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."
...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 Affordable Care Act subsidies, which the law makes available to Americans making 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
..."There's just a cutoff, instead of what I'd like to see which is a kind of gradual diminishment. People shouldn't just—once they get to a certain income level shouldn't lose all their benefits," Clinton said. "That's something I'm looking at."
The "gradual diminishment" part is kind of odd, because ACA subsidies already "gradually diminish" as you move up the income scale. If you make around 350-400% of the federal poverty level, for instance, you might only receive APTC assistance of perhaps $25/month, which is a pretty small stipend for a $1,000/month policy. On the other hand, it's not a smooth drop-off at the moment; I believe there's a pretty steep drop at around the 250-300% range, so perhaps she's just talking about smoothing things out...or even bumping the cut-off up to 500% (which of course would also require additional funding).
The main reason I'm bringing this up today, however, is because of some comments people made over at Daily Kos in response to a diary of mine yesterday:
The panel wouldn’t have been politically relevant anyway in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s win over Bernie Sanders. Incrementalism has won. Hillary’s panicky endorsement of state-based public options eight days before Super Tuesday is already rarely mentioned and will quietly be dropped sometime in the next few months. This will receive scant attention and Hillary will pay no political price for it. We’re headed back to the days of 2011-2015, when the public option was frozen out of discussion and single-payer was a vaguely remembered fever dream. If either of these topics resurface in the next few years it will only be because Democrats are scared of a 3rd-party challenge from their left in 2020.
I heard that back in 2010 after the passage of the ACA. I said the furor over the public option would quickly die down and Democratic loyalists would banish it from discussion because it was no longer politically expedient. That’s exactly what happened. I see no reason to believe it won’t happen again. And of course the same people will say it’s a stupid prediction.
Both of those comments were from the same person, but there was a similar theme from others: Hillary supposedly only brought up the PO as a way of getting Bernie to shut up about Single Payer, and now that she has the nomination in the bag, she’s dropping it like a hot rock.
Well, guess what? Apparently Hillary Clinton is still interested in discussing the public option.
Now, without audio/video footage of today's event, I have no idea whether she brought the subject up herself or if it was sort of forced to the surface by someone in the audience, but the fact that she's still talking about it is promising.