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Democratic Senators Reveal “Medicare X”

Two Democratic senators put forward a proposal Tuesday that would allow anyone to buy Medicare plans, a proposal they say is  more realistic than proposals like “Medicare for all” that would eliminate private insurance companies and reshape the American health care system.

“I just think this is a much more practical way of trying to achieve the objective of universal coverage, and over time, a reduction in our expenditures on health care, than practically any other proposal that’s been made since the ACA was passed,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who is weighing a run for president and sponsored the bill with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016.

The bill would leave the existing health care system intact, but would create a “public option” for Medicare, allowing individuals of any age to purchase plans that would include access to the program’s network of health care providers and the Affordable Care Act’s range of benefits, like maternity care and mental health services. Currently, only adults 65 and older can participate in Medicare.

It would also expand access to tax credits that help people buy Affordable Care Act coverage and would allow those credits to be used for Medicare X plans. Under those changes, individuals would pay no more than 13 percent of their income toward their insurance premiums for a standard health plan. The bill also increases the size of the tax credits for those with lower incomes. A House version was introduced Monday by Reps. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.), John Larson (D-Conn.) and Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.).

“I see this as an attempt, a good-faith attempt, to try to address the gaps we have in our current health care system,” Bennet said.

“It is an attempt to move us toward universal coverage. Everybody in America should be insured. I think every single Democrat sees that view and I hope over time Republicans in Washington will share that view as well.”

Source: The Hill

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