Reps. Larson & Courtney Join Introduction of the Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act
WASHINGTON, DC – In a Capitol Hill news conference, Congressmen John Larson (CT-01) and Joe Courtney (CT-02) joined Reps. Brian Higgins (NY-26) and Peter Welch (VT-AL) to announce plans for the introduction of the Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act. The legislation, introduced by Congressman Higgins, would expand access to Medicare to allow those aged 50-64 to buy into the highly successful and popular program, providing an option for affordable, quality health care to millions more Americans who are more likely to have pre-existing conditions and face premium increases as they near retirement.
Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Tammy Baldwin (WI) joined the Members of the House at the news conference to announce similar Senate legislation which will also lower the age of eligibility for Medicare to 50.
Recent polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation has shown that a Medicare buy-in plan for those aged 50-64 was supported by 77% of the public, the highest level of support among any of the plans included in the survey.
“The Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act is a simple and commonsense solution that offers one path forward to strengthen our health care system. In a time where our health care system and protections for patients continue to be attacked, it is time that we focus on helping Americans obtain access to quality, affordable health care. This bill does just that. A 60 year old American could see a 40 percent savings in their premium. This legislation would strengthen patient protections and put money back in people’s pockets,” said Congressman Larson.
“The American people have made it extremely clear that health care affordability is the number one issue facing their families, and they expect Congress to put forward real solutions,” said Congressman Courtney. “In crafting this proposal, we have listened to our constituents, many of whom are over age 50 and facing premiums that easily reach over a thousand dollars per month. The Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act provides an additional option for the higher cost consumers who are bearing the brunt of rising premiums, restores the market stabilizing policies that Republicans have undermined in recent years, and equips the Department of Health and Human Services with new tools to drive down prescription costs for seniors. By offering this new population the option to buy into Medicare, this bill would provide an additional, well-respected option to those struggling to afford premiums today.”
Additional original cosponsors of the Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act include Representatives: Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Denny Heck (WA-10), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Collin Peterson (MN-07), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Dina Titus (NV-01), and Paul Tonko (NY-20).
Medicare Buy-In for those Age 50-64, how it works:
- Participants purchase Medicare coverage (Part A, B, and D, or a Medicare Advantage plan) at-cost, keeping the program budget neutral
- Plans are offered on the exchanges, providing opportunity for comparison-shopping
- Those eligible for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions could apply them towards their buy-in premium
- A public Medigap option is created for all Medicare beneficiaries to ensure enrollees are able to access and afford all the benefits they need
- Authorizes HHS to negotiate volume discounts on prescription drugs to achieve even greater savings in the system to the benefit of all Medicare beneficiaries
The Medicare and Medicaid programs were first implemented in 1965 through the Social Security Act. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more than 59 million Americans were enrolled in Medicare in 2018.