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New Bill Creates Medicare Part E, Open to All

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What You Need to Know

  • The bill would give every individual and business the choice to enroll in Medicare.
  • Medicare Part E would be self-sustaining, fully paid for by premiums, and offered on all state and federal exchanges.
  • The bill also directs Medicare to negotiate drug prices and allows the HHS secretary to block high private insurance rates.

Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, along with Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., and Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., introduced late Friday afternoon the Choose Medicare Act, legislation that would give every individual and business the choice to enroll in Medicare.

The Choose Medicare Act 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,” the lawmakers said.

Additionally, employers could choose to select Medicare Part E rather than private insurance to provide affordable and reliable health care to their employees.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced the Choose Medicare Act, S. 1180, in the Senate earlier this year.

“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,” Gomez said in a statement.

Added Beyer: “Simply put, our bill would give all Americans access to Medicare, one the most popular and successful health care delivery programs in history. 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.”

Key features of the Choose Medicare Act include:

  • Opens Medicare to employers of all sizes 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 preexisting conditions.
  • 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 prescription drug prices.
  • Allows the HHS secretary to block excessive private insurance rates.
  • Extends traditional Medicare protections on balance billing or surprise bills to Part E plans.