Michael Bennet U.S. Senator for ColoradoMenu
“It is a disgrace that people’s lives are upended daily in our country because they have no health insurance. We need to cover everyone, reduce costs, and improve quality—and Medicare-X is the best way to accomplish those objectives. Medicare-X starts in rural areas because the market there is failing too many Americans. And by using the existing Medicare framework, it provides a new, affordable option without adding bureaucracy. There is no excuse for us not to finish what the ACA started and close the coverage gap in America through Medicare-X.”
- Senator Michael Bennet
Despite the success of the Affordable Care Act, too many Americans still live in areas with limited competition and unaffordable health care costs. In 2019, 17 percent of those enrolled on the exchanges lived in an area with just one insurer.
U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) have a plan to create Medicare-X, a public option that would offer families, individuals, and small businesses additional, low-cost health insurance choices and create competition in the marketplace.
Medicare-X initially would be available on the individual exchange in areas where there is a shortage of insurers or higher health care costs due to less competition—including in rural communities in Colorado and Virginia. By 2024, Medicare-X would expand to every ZIP code in the country. By 2025, the public plan would be added as another option on the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace.
Medicare-X would use Medicare’s network of doctors and providers and guarantee the essential health benefits established in the ACA, such as maternity care and mental health services. Additionally, it would ensure access to affordable prescription drugs by offering prices negotiated in conjunction with the Medicare Part D program.
In 2021, the Bennet-Kaine Medicare-X plan would be available in areas with one or fewer options on the Exchange. The plan would also be available in rating areas with a shortage of providers or a lack of plan competition, including HPSAs and rural areas. By 2024, the plan would be available in all rating areas. In 2025, it would be available on the Small Business Health Options Program Exchange.
The bill allows the HHS Secretary to contract with outside entities to process claims or administer additional components of the plan. This includes contractors that currently administer certain functions for Medicare. The bill also directs the Secretary to gather data from State Insurance Commissioners in order to set adequate premiums.Return to Top
In addition to Bennet and Kaine, the legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).Return to Top