04.20.18

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Helps Introduce Legislation in Expanding Access to Medicare

Medicare Part E - for everyone - will be sold on ACA health care exchanges and made available to employers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined her colleagues in introducing the Choose Medicare Act to give every individual who is not already eligible for Medicaid or Medicare the opportunity to enroll in Medicare as an individual or every employer to purchase Medicare for their employees.

“We need to work across party lines to make health care more affordable and to give Wisconsinites more choices to find quality, affordable health insurance,” said Senator Baldwin. "This legislation offers a new option for every American to buy more affordable, quality health care coverage through Medicare, and is a critical step to help reduce health insurance costs and increase competition.”

Medicare is consistently rated the most popular and efficient health insurance system in the United States. The new plan, Medicare Part E, would be self-sustaining and fully paid for by premiums. Medicare Part E would be offered on all state and federal exchanges, and people could 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.

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.

Improves affordability

  • 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.

The full bill text is available here and a summary of the bill is available here.