Two Democrat Party Senators- Jeff Merkley (Oregon) and Chris Murphy (Connecticut)- have proposed a brand new Medicare buy-in proposal. This permits both employers and individuals to buy a coverage via the public program which covers elderly Americans. This bill is the latest among a large number of healthcare proposals. All these proposals go beyond Obamacare or Affordable Care Act (ACT). They increase the role of government in facilitating healthcare services.
Total five bills until now
The latest bill joins four other bills. Each bill envisions a different future for the United States healthcare system. Senator Bernie Sanders had proposed his Medicare-for-all bill. Democratic Senators Michael Bennet and Tim Kaine had proposed Medicare buy-in bill and Senator Brian Schatz had proposed Medicaid buy-in bill. The Center for American Progress had proposed Medicare “extra-for-all”. These are all in addition to the new bill.
The presence of all these bill proposals makes it evident that the Democrats really want to have a debate on healthcare. The preparations for this include all varied options on the table. This will, they hope, help to hammer out a consensus.
It is well-known that Democrats will pursue healthcare policies. There are, of course, a number of different policies to be pursued if they get back control of White House and the congressional majority. The list includes climate change, immigration, and infrastructure among others. For Democrats, the last health care debate was a tiring one, resulting in the ACA continuing to be divisible even after it was passed eight years back. To the surprise of many Democrats, Obamacare never reached universal popularity as they hoped.
Both Senators, Merkley and Murphy, agreed that healthcare will be a priority for the Democratic Party. The party will revert back to the strategy it had in the earlier 2010s. Merkley said that although the ACA expanded coverage to a few, many continue to worry about the additional expenses or the rising co-pays or even providers exiting the network.
The Murphy-Merkley plan permits big businesses and individuals to purchase coverage via the Medicare plan. The plan would be more than Kaine-Bennet iteration of Medicare buy-in, as this restricts this choice to individuals. The Murphy-Merkley plan will permit companies to buy Medicare for employees and not purchase coverage from any private health plan of which the company is an existing customer. The thought process behind any Medicare buy-in plan is that the robust bargaining power of the public program will benefit individuals and companies.