As the congressional debate over health care reform seems to hinge on a public insurance option, one senator has a new idea: let the states run their own government health care plan. The proposal by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is earning praise from centrist Democrats as a way to both expand coverage and spur competition in the private market.
"Conceptually, having the states take responsibility makes a great deal of sense," said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). "It is important that we really take a close look at this." Sen. Ken Conrad (D-N.D.) called the Carper proposal "very constructive." But Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the key Republican in the debate, reiterated her support for her own solution -- a "fallback" government plan that would kick in if the new bill failed to expand coverage as expected.
In an interview
with Politics Daily
's Jill Lawrence last week, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), who proposed one of the public options voted down by the Senate Finance Committee, said there are too many ways state-run plans can go wrong. A plan like the one Carper is proposing could leave health care coverage up to the whims of the governor or the financial condition of the state, and would create a messy situation for people who moved between states. State-Run Health Plans Garner Support
[Wall Street Journal]