WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), and Don Beyer (VA-08) introduced the Choose Medicare Act, legislation that would give every individual and business the choice to enroll in Medicare. Earlier this year, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the Choose Medicare Act (S. 1180) in the U.S. Senate.
The Choose Medicare Acts creates a new Medicare program – Medicare Part E – available to every individual who is not already eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. Medicare Part E would be self-sustaining, fully paid for by premiums, and offered on all state and federal exchanges, giving people the ability to use the existing Affordable Care Act subsidies to help pay for it. Additionally, employers could choose to select Medicare Part E rather than private insurance to provide affordable and reliable health care to their employees.
“While the Affordable Care Act has made great strides in securing affordable, comprehensive, and quality health care for millions of Americans, there are still far too many people who have fell through the cracks, particularly those in communities of color and underserved regions of our country,” said Congressman Gomez. “The Choose Medicare Act will help ensure healthy outcomes for all Americans by creating new pathways to access our nation’s most popular and efficient health insurance system. I want to thank my colleagues Representatives Boyle and Beyer, as well as Senators Merkley and Murphy, for working with me on this important bill to bring us one step closer to achieving universal coverage.”
“This legislation gives all Americans more options in accessing healthcare,” said Congressman Boyle. “Plain and simple, no American should be without health coverage. The Choose Medicare Act gives all Americans more options to obtain affordable health care for themselves and for their families. It’s time to give every American the opportunity to choose Medicare, and that’s exactly what this bill does. I am proud to help lead this effort on the House side and hope this will move the ball forward on adopting universal coverage to ensure Americans have the care they need and deserve.”
“Simply put, our bill would give all Americans access to Medicare, one the most popular and successful health care delivery programs in history,” said Congressman Beyer. “Allowing employers and the general public the option to choose Medicare would fill many of the gaps in our health care system, get more people covered, and make the nation healthier. Every American should be able to access affordable, quality health care, and this bill represents the kind of bold action required to make that a reality for all.”
“In the richest country in the world, no person should have to worry about whether they’ll be able to afford care if they become sick or get into an accident. That means every American needs high-quality, affordable health care,” said Senator Merkley. “Luckily, we already have an effective, popular solution, and it’s called Medicare. It’s time we put consumers and businesses in the driver’s seat on the road to universal health care by letting every American have the option to secure coverage through this program.”
“It’s a no brainer that we should allow consumers to choose between opting into Medicare or staying with their private insurance—which is exactly what the Choose Medicare Act does,” said Senator Murphy. “I’m glad that Reps. Gomez, Beyer and Boyle are leading on this legislation in the House as Senator Merkley and I work to advance this in the Senate. Medicare is the most efficient and affordable health care plan out there, so this is a great way to expand coverage, lower prices and test that Medicare will work for everyone.”
A one-page summary of the bill is available here.
A section-by-section summary of the bill is available here.
Key features of the Choose Medicare Act include:
Increased 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 (ACA) rating requirements to all markets, to end discrimination based on pre-existing conditions once and for all.
- Includes the ACA’s 10 essential health benefits and all items and services covered by Medicare.
- Provides high-quality, gold-level coverage and cost-sharing.
- Ensures coverage for all reproductive services including abortion.
- Establishes an out-of-pocket maximum in traditional Medicare.
- Increases the generosity of premium tax credits and extends eligibility to middle-income earners.
- Directs Medicare to negotiate fair prices for prescription drugs.
- Drives down private insurance premiums through competition from Medicare by allowing the HHS Secretary to block excessive private insurance rates.
- Extends traditional Medicare protections on balance billing or surprise bills to Part E plans.