Mid April, Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Choose Medicare Act. This Act would essentially open up traditional Medicare to all Americans via a new plan, Medicare Part E. In the proposed legislation, the new Part E plan would be self-sustaining and fully paid for by its premiums. It would be available on all state and federal exchanges, and people could use their existing Affordable Care Act tax subsidies to purchase it. In addition, employers of any size could choose to offer Medicare Part E over other private insurance options to offer health care to their employees. The Act would include the same coverage as traditional Medicare, plus some additional benefits for the needs of the non-elderly population.
The Act would help the Medicare program save money by allowing Medicare to negotiate fair prices for prescription drugs. It would also improve the Medicare program by adding an out-of-pocket spending cap for beneficiaries.
Below is a brief summary of the Act’s highlights from Senator Murphy’s press release:
The Choose Medicare Act:
Increases Access, Competition, and Choice
- Opens Medicare to employers of all sizes and allows them to purchase high quality, affordable health care for their employees without requiring replacement of employment-based health insurance.
- Addresses the discrepancy between consumer protections in the individual and group markets by extending the Affordable Care Act’s rating requirements to all markets, to end discrimination based on pre-existing conditions once and for all.
Provides Comprehensive Coverage
- Covers essential health benefits and all items and services covered by Medicare.
- Provides high-quality, Medicare benefits (gold-level coverage).
- Ensures coverage for all reproductive services.
- Establishes an out-out-pocket maximum in traditional Medicare.
- Increases the generosity of premium tax credits and extends eligibility to middle-income earners.
- Allows Medicare to negotiate fair prices for prescription drugs.
- Drives down private insurance premiums with competition from Medicare.