U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Medicare at 50 Act today to give people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old the option of buying into Medicare, an incremental step to expand health coverage beyond Obamacare’s gains that will offer an alternative to the ambitious restructuring progressives are hoping for in their push for Medicare for All.
“Wisconsinites have sent a clear message to Washington that they want us to work together to expand access to health care and lower costs,” said Senator Baldwin in a statement. “Our legislation will give millions of older Americans another choice for more affordable, quality health insurance coverage. For people between the ages of 50 and 64, this is a high-quality option that can help reduce health care costs and increase competition in the marketplace.”
Millions of Americans who are approaching retirement or are being forced to retire early due to layoffs or mandatory retirement face increasing health care needs and rising costs. Allowing more Americans to buy into Medicare has the potential to lower their costs, reinforce the existing Medicare program, and strengthen the existing health insurance marketplace. Recent polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that 77 percent of people strongly support giving people between the ages of 50 and 64 the option to buy Medicare.
“Our legislation is a win-win for American families,” said Senator Stabenow in a statement. “It will help strengthen Medicare and lower costs and improve care for millions of people.”
“I support universal coverage and I believe one of the best ways to get there is by opening Medicare up for people in their 50s to voluntarily buy in. This will help millions of people, strengthen the Affordable Care Act and get us closer to our goal of making sure everyone has healthcare coverage,” added Senator Brown in a statement.
Today, 27 percent of adults approaching retirement are not confident that they can afford health insurance over the next year, according to a press release from Sen. Baldwin’s office, and more than a quarter have issues navigating health insurance options, coverage decisions, and out-of-pocket costs. Many did not get the care they needed because of how much it would cost or kept a job or delayed retirement to keep their employer-sponsored health insurance.