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How bold should Democrats be on health care? Here’s one answer.

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The most intense policy debate going on in the Democratic Party right now concerns health care, but it’s about more than just what sort of specific reform should be pursued. It’s also about how to approach both policy and politics, about what it means to be a Democrat, and about competing theories of change.

Though at times it can get heated, there's nothing wrong with that — Democrats argue passionately about this issue because they care about people who don't have coverage and people who are ill-served by the system we have now. And though people on both the left and the center can be dismissive of those who don't agree with them, it's important for everyone to understand exactly what others are proposing.

On Wednesday, four Democrats — Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Brian Higgins, and Rep. Joe Courtney — are unveiling a bill to allow anyone over the age of 50 to buy in to Medicare, which is currently open only to those over 65. This idea is a variant of one that has been around for a while; you may remember the failed liberal push for a “public option” in the Affordable Care Act.

But today, allowing people to buy in to Medicare if they want, and paying premiums to cover the cost, is just about the most widely popular health care idea around. And those who prefer something approaching a single-payer system see it as an inadequate half-measure that doesn’t fix the basic problem with the system.

Earlier this week I spoke to Senator Stabenow about this bill and the debate........

© Washington Post