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New Bill Lowers Medicare Eligibility Age to 60

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What You Need to Know

  • Lowering the age to 60 from 65 would expand Medicare to at least 23 million people.
  • The move is supported by President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan.
  • Many older Americans lost their jobs and their health insurance as the uninsured rate skyrocketed.

More than 125 House lawmakers introduced legislation Friday that lowers the Medicare eligibility age to 60 from 65.

The Improving Medicare Coverage Act — led by Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; Conor Lamb, D-Pa.; Joe Neguse, D-Colo.; and Susan Wild, D-Pa.; Haley Stevens, D-Mich.; and Debbie Dingell, D-Mich. — would expand Medicare to at least 23 million people, the lawmakers said in a statement.

Such a move is supported by President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan in addition to more than 70% of the House Democratic Caucus, the lawmakers said.

“Lowering the Medicare eligibility age will not only be life-changing for at least 23 million people, it will also be life-saving for so many across America who will finally be able to get the care they need and deserve,” Jayapal said.

“Expanding and improving this wildly popular program is not only the right thing to do from a policy perspective, it is also what the majority of Americans across party lines support,” Jayapal continued. “Congress and President Biden should immediately deliver for the people by prioritizing the expansion and improvement of Medicare in the upcoming Build Back Better package.”

The lawmakers said that up to 25% of those ages 60 to 64 go without health insurance before turning 65.

“According to a new study led by Dr. Joseph Shrager of Stanford University, 65- to 69-year-olds in the U.S. have a statistically better chance of being diagnosed and surviving our most common cancers than in the five years prior,” the lawmakers said.

“Overall mortality rates also significantly improve at age 65. Americans aged 60-64 have the highest mortality rates compared to those in the same age range in peer countries — but once they reach 65, mortality rates drastically reduce thanks to Medicare,” the lawmakers said.

COVID-19 only exacerbated the crisis, the lawmakers argued.

“Many older Americans lost their jobs and their health insurance as the uninsured rate skyrocketed,” they said. “While the economic recovery has begun for some, older workers are currently being hired at a lower rate than those in younger age groups.”