In addition to reintroducing the Medicare at 50 Act,
"As New Yorkers face growing health challenges and economic hardship in the wake of the pandemic, far too many older Americans are unsure if they can afford the costs of health care coverage. New Yorkers aged 50-64 are often in transition, planning for their retirements or facing layoffs and early retirement, and we must ensure that they can afford the health care they need," said
According to the
Today, 27% of adults approaching retirement are not confident that they can afford health insurance over the next year, and more than a quarter have issues navigating health insurance options, coverage decisions and out-of-pocket costs. Many did not get the care they needed because of how much it would cost or kept a job or delayed retirement to keep their employer-sponsored health insurance.
Full text of the Medicare at 50 Act can be found here https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/KEL21393%5b1%5d.pdf.
Full text of the letter to the Biden administration can be found here https://www.sanders.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/Sanders-Medicare-Letter_FINAL_April-25.pdf and below.
Dear President Biden:
We write to ask that, as part of the American Families Plan, you propose reducing the Medicare eligibility age, expanding Medicare benefits to include hearing, dental, and vision care, implementing a cap on out-of-pocket expenses under traditional Medicare, and negotiating lower drug prices.
As you know, Medicare has been one of the most successful and popular federal programs in our nation's history since it was signed into law by President
While the American Rescue Plan Act made coverage more affordable, millions of older Americans are still uninsured or under-insured. Lowering the eligibility age for Medicarewould help these individuals significantly. Twenty-seven percent of adults age 50 to 64 are not confident that they can afford health insurance over the next year, and more than a quarter report issues with navigating health insurance options, coverage decisions, and how their choices will affect their out-of-pocket costs. Researchers have found that there is a massive spike in the diagnosis of cancer among Americans who reach the age of 65 that could have been diagnosed much earlier if the Medicareeligibility age had been lower. Lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 could expand Medicare coverage to 23 million people, including nearly 2 million uninsured people, while lowering it to 55 could give over 42 million people access to the program, and lowering it to 50 could cover 63 million Americans. Lowering the Medicare eligibility age is not only the right thing to do from a public policy perspective, it is also what the overwhelming majority of Americans support. According to a recent Gallup poll, 65 percent of Americans support lowering the Medicare eligibility age.
There is also an urgent need to improve the current Medicare benefit. In America today, half of all adults over age 75 have hearing loss, as do one-third of adults age 65 to 74, according to the
In addition, we must address the dental crisis in America, which is particularly acute in our nation's elderly and disabled population. Today, over 70 percent of senior citizens have no dental insurance. The results have been tragic. Incredibly, more than a quarter of senior citizens in this country are missing all of their natural teeth with many unable to properly digest the food that they eat because they cannot afford a full set of dentures - which can cost anywhere from
Further, senior citizens with poor vision should not be forced to go without routine eye exams or eyeglasses because of the cost, and instead deal with the disability, cognitive impairment, or depression that can result with ongoing vision problems.
At a time when half of senior citizens are trying to survive on less than
In order to pay for these much needed improvements, we believe Medicare and the federal government should do what every major country on earth does: negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower the high price of prescription drugs. The
We have an historic opportunity to make the most significant expansion of Medicaresince it was signed into law. We look forward to working with you to make this a reality and, in the process, substantially improve the lives of millions of older Americans and persons with disabilities.
Read this original document at: https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/news/press/release/gillibrand-colleagues-introduce-medicare-at-50-act-