A Modest Proposal — Expand Medicare to Fix ACA

Larson, Courtney: Fix ACA by letting 50 to 64-year-olds join Medicare

After passing the eight-year mark since passing the Affordable Care Act, nonpartisan data from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau have confirmed the real-life benefits the ACA has brought to the state of Connecticut. As the Bureau reported, the uninsured rate in our state has fallen from 9.2 to 3.8 percent, patients can no longer be cut off from medical treatment due to lifetime limits on coverage, and Americans have the peace of mind in knowing that a childhood illness or chronic disease will not prohibit them from purchasing health insurance later in life.

However, in the seven years since its passage, the ACA has not solved every problem in the healthcare system and serious challenges remain even today. What we need now are forward thinking ideas about how to build on the successes of the ACA, while also finding ways to reduce costs and improve quality for every American.

In recent months, healthcare stakeholders such as hospitals, doctor groups, the American Cancer Society, and the American Lung Association have risen up in opposition to reckless attempts to repeal the ACA without an adequate replacement. All of these groups, like us, are clear eyed in recognizing that it is time for Congress to get serious about finding ways to move the conversation, and our healthcare system, forward. When talking to constituents in our districts, the one thing we hear repeatedly is the ACA did not do enough to bring costs down for Americans approaching retirement.

That led us to join our colleague Rep. Brian Higgins from New York to draft legislation that would allow Americans age 50-64 to buy into the Medicare program for the first time. Our bill, the Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act will build on the successes of the ACA, strengthen Medicare, and stabilize the existing individual marketplaces to increase consumer choice and affordability.

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