By: Jeremy Mulvihill
on October 12, 2018
Senate Democrats Introduce Bill Allowing Medicare Buy-In At 55. The announcement shows how the party’s health care views are shifting to the left. In a sign that the Democratic Party is embracing more progressive health care ideas, eight Democratic senators announced Thursday that they were co-sponsoring legislation that would allow people 55 and older to buy in to Medicare.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the Medicare at 55 Act with the immediate support of Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Al Franken (Minn.).
The bill, which would allow Americans aged 55 to 64 to purchase Medicare coverage, reflects the growing influence of progressive activists who are pushing for a single-payer health care system they dub “Medicare for all.”
Although the bill stops short of making Medicare universal, its embrace of expanded public health insurance, rather than the private model at the heart of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, marks a distinct leftward shift for the party.
“People between the ages of 55 and 64 often have more health problems and face higher health care costs but aren’t yet eligible for Medicare,” Stabenow said in a statement. “If you live in Michigan, are 58 years old, and are having a hard time finding coverage that works for you, this bill will let you buy into Medicare before you turn 65.”
“Our legislation is one way we can work together on a bipartisan basis to lower health care and prescription drug costs,” she added.