Senate Dems Propose Medicare Buy-In Bill

A pair of Senate Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday that allows working-age Americans to buy into Medicare, a proposal that inches toward a single-payer system without fully embracing a government-run system in a pivotal election year.

Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Jeff Merkley of Oregon said the Choose Medicare Act is a good way to help individuals and businesses who’ve been left behind by the Democrats’ own health law or employer-based markets.

Obamacare customers who qualify for subsidies could apply them to the Medicare alternative, offering the type of “public option” that Democrats shirked under President Obama in 2010.

Bipartisan efforts to stabilize the 2010 program’s wobbly insurance exchanges fell apart earlier this year, leaving states and enrollees to brace for limited choices and premiums hikes ushered in by flaws in the law itself and GOP efforts to dismantle it.

President Trump says consumers need relief from heavy government mandates and regulations, not more federal involvement in health care.

Republicans said the idea of a federal takeover of health care would cripple Democratic Senate candidates this fall.

House Democrats looking to retake the lower chamber after eight years in the minority see health care as the key to a “blue wave.” But colleagues across the Capitol face more of a high-wire act — 10 Senate Democrats are up for re-election in states Mr. Trump won in 2016.

“The issue that has got much of the Democratic base fired up is health care,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said. “But at the same time, they don’t want to give Republicans a chance to use it as a contrasting issue, to say, ‘Hey, look at how zany the Democrats are.’”

Read more from Tom Howell Jr. at The Washington Times

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