Reps. Delgado, Larson and Higgins Announce House Companion to Medicare-X Bill

April 1, 2019
Press Release
Bill would allow all Americans to purchase a public health insurance plan through the popular Medicare program

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, Congressman Antonio Delgado (NY-19) led the reintroduction of the Medicare-X Choice Act, legislation to create a public option health plan available for purchase on the individual and small business exchanges. Delgado was joined by Representatives John Larson (CT-1) and Brian Higgins (NY-26). The bill would combine Medicare physician networks and reimbursement rates with Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage standards to create a new, public health insurance option available to all Americans.

“It’s unacceptable that despite being the wealthiest country in the world, the United States is the only developed country without universal healthcare,” Delgado said. “This has been a top priority for me in Congress, and I’m proud to lead my colleagues in introducing a bill to finally get us to universal coverage. Whether it be at town halls or meetings with constituents, the folks I talk to back home want access to more coverage options at lower costs. The Medicare-X Choice Act would deliver by allowing those who are happy with their employer-provided insurance to keep it, while offering another, more affordable coverage option to those who need it. Adding a public option creates competition and will drive down premiums and deductibles.” 

“By building on the successful framework of the Medicare system, Medicare X creates an additional affordable healthcare option for the American people. This is a solution that is bold and achievable and will ensure that every American has access to high-quality, affordable health care,” said Congressman Larson.

Congressman Higgins said, “This bill provides people under 65 a public option already proven to be successful – Medicare.  By doing so, it provides greater choice and competition, building on the protections provided in the Affordable Care Act, with an efficient healthcare delivery alternative that lowers the cost curve for consumers.”

The Medicare-X Choice Act uses the existing health care system, and gradually reinforces it, by providing more options for the public of all ages. Medicare-X would be offered through individual and family coverage plans and the Medicare provider network would be expanded to include pediatricians, children’s hospitals and others.  The Act will ensure Essential Health Benefits like maternity, newborn care, and pediatric services are covered. The bill also allows for prescription drug negotiation through Medicare Part D.

Under the bill, premiums are put into a new, separate trust fund, holding the Medicare trust fund for individuals ages 65 and over harmless. In addition, the bill would expand access to premium tax credits to those beyond the 400% of the federal poverty line, the current threshold for premium assistance under the ACA.

Beginning in 2021, the Medicare-X plan will be available in rural areas of the country where there is only one or no health insurance providers on the exchange. The plan will also be available in counties where there is a shortage of health plan options, which have driven up costs and rendered prices simply unaffordable for the American below the age of 65. By 2024, the public option would be available on the individual market and in 2025, the plan would be an option on the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange.

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