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Sens. Jeff Merkley And Chris Murphy Offer Expanded Medicare Buy-In Bill

They're calling the new proposal "Medicare Part E."

Let me put it this way: Our managing editor, healthcare wonk extraordinaire Karoli, loves this plan.

The new bill from Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Ed Merkley yesterday introduced the “Choose Medicare Act,” a plan for an expanded version of traditional Medicare, available both to individual consumers buying their own coverages, but also to employers who buy coverage for their employees.

The people who currently earn too much to qualify for Medicaid would be eligible, and Part E would limit out-of-pocket spending and cover pediatric services, making it similar to single-payer plans in other countries.

Consumers who buy coverage on their own could get Medicare Part E through HealthCare.gov or one of the state-run exchanges, using federal tax credits if they qualify. The tax credits would actually be more generous, and available to people at higher incomes, than they are under the current law.

The legislation wouldn’t only help people who opt into Medicare E. Anyone who buys coverage on the exchanges but wants to keep private insurance would be eligible for the bigger, more widely available tax credits.

Seniors on Medicare would also get a cap on out-of-pocket expenses.

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