What Is Medicare-X?

Obamacare is dead — if you believe the latest comments from President Donald Trump – or nearly so, or failing, or just about to be replaced. Whatever the GOP has said about the Affordable Care Act over recent weeks, one thing is obvious: Our current health care system is struggling as Republicans try to rip it to shreds.

And for better or worse, odds are that we will end up with a different policy very soon. The newest contender? Medicare-X.

Medicare-X is the brainchild of Democratic Senator Tim Kaine — the vice presidential nominee on the Hillary Clinton 2016 ticket — and Democratic Colorado Senator Michael Bennet. The plan would expand on the Affordable Care Act by loosening restrictions on Medicare, thus allowing more people to obtain coverage — especially those in rural areas where the current federal or state insurance plan offerings may be extremely limited.

The Washington Post reports:

It would allow anyone to buy into a publicly provided plan using the network of Medicare providers and physicians, at similar rates, with lower-income workers receiving tax credits for the plan. In its first years of operation, this new Medicare option would be available only in counties that have one or no providers offering insurance on the ACA’s private exchanges. It would eventually phase in to all counties and would effectively serve as what Democrats called the ‘public option’ in 2009 and 2010, when they debated and passed the health law under President Barack Obama.

The option would then eventually be open to anyone, regardless of location or number of insurers, with a full rollout expected to be complete in 2023.

The Denver Channel adds:

The senators’ public option plan differs from the single-payer, ‘Medicare For All,’ plan that has been touted over the past year by Sen. Bernie Sanders and other high-profile Democrats. According to The Post, Bennet and Kaine’s plan bridges the gap between those advocates for single-payer and some Democrats who will be up for election in states won by Donald Trump, who might not be so keen to put their seats on the line to advocate for the Sanders plan, which many have balked at over the unknown—and likely pricey—costs that would come with a single-payer plan.

The bill may be able to help bring swing state Democrats to support a policy resembling “Medicare For All,” but unlike some other attempts at health care reform, it lacks any Republican support — and that could hurt the plan when it comes time to vote.

The president is still publicly pushing for a bipartisan fix to the current ACA — or so he says. And that effort is being led by Washington Democrat Sen. Patty Murray and Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander.

As Politico notes:

Alexander wants to craft a deal that has the support of a ‘significant number of Republicans and Democrats.’ His goal is to hand the legislation off to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Alexander said Monday he wants to pass a bill as soon as possible so that consumers could see premium relief in 2018. It’s unlikely that such a bill would pass on its own, particularly if it is poised to get more Democratic support than Republican votes. Democrats have already suggested attaching it to a larger bill, or even folding it into a year-end spending deal, but some worry that would come too late to have an effect on 2018 rates.

Plus, the Murray/Alexander effort isn’t the only bipartisan plan in the running. Colorado Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper and former Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican, are also touting a bipartisan Obamacare fix, although neither are really in any position to make it legislation — unless they follow through on the rumored “two Johns” 2020 presidential ticket.

While Medicare-X would be an excellent stepping stone to a true government supported health care system that’s affordable and accessible for all, it sadly remains as much of a pipe dream as Medicare for All — at least, until the Democrats can take back the federal government.

But if Medicare-X can be a tool in making that takeover happen, then it may well be the best health care plan of all.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

53 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill8 days ago

Why is ObamaCare not dead or nearly dead? The whole state of Virginia has only ONE insurance provider!!!!! How is that possible?

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo R1 months ago

ty

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo R1 months ago

ty

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo R1 months ago

ty

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S1 months ago

noted,thanks

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Marija M
Marija M1 months ago

tks for posting.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S1 months ago

thank you for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M1 months ago

And people wonder why I continue to vote Democrat-they are truly the party that helps ALL the people, not just rich white hetero Christian MEN! You don't believe me, just look at all the executive orders and laws that Twitler and the Rethuglican Religious Reich have signed or enacted over the years that do NOTHING for minorities or the working class. (What's the first thing the RRR does? ALWAYS go after women's reproductive rights and freedoms first.) Health care is a RIGHT, not a privilege, and that includes ALL health care!

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