Udall, Heinrich Introduce 'Choose Medicare Act' To Make Medicare Available To Everyone

Medicare Part E - For Everyone - Will Be Sold On ACA Health Care Exchanges And Made Available To Employers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced 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.

“Every New Mexican and every American should be able to see a doctor, and have the affordable, quality health care they need to keep themselves and their families healthy. This legislation is a great first step towards to our goal of universal coverage and lower health care costs, giving all New Mexicans and Americans the ability to purchase a new affordable, comprehensive Medicare plan. I will continue to support this and other efforts in Congress to make access to a public healthcare option a reality for the millions of Americans who desperately need it,” said Senator Udall

“It is time to recognize that health care is a human right and the best way to make that a reality in America is to build on what we all know works, said Senator Heinrich.New Mexicans across the political spectrum recognize just how well the Medicare program delivers quality health care results at a reasonable cost. This legislation would allow individuals and employers to buy more affordable, quality health care coverage through Medicare, and is a critical step to expanding coverage and providing more health care options for New Mexicans.

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 legislation led by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

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

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.