Democrats reintroduce legislation to create public option based on Medicaid

Nearly 20 Senate Democrats reintroduced legislation on Friday to create a new public option based on Medicaid, bolstering their commitment to a key priority.

But the legislation is not certain of becoming law, as it was not added to a $ 3.5 trillion infrastructure package that includes other reforms on drug pricing and expansion of health benefits. Medicare. Nonetheless, the legislation underscores the commitment of House Democrats to the issue which has also won support from President Joe Biden.

“Our bill will open up every state’s Medicaid program to anyone who wants it, providing people with a high-quality, low-cost public health insurance option,” said Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, one of the main sponsors, in a statement. “Our ultimate goal here is to make sure every American has comprehensive health care coverage.”

The legislation would allow states to create a Medicaid buyback program for all residents, regardless of income.

“Medicaid is a popular and cost-effective program with a large network of providers,” a statement said on the legislation. “The program has the same positive ratings as private insurance, but offers health coverage at a much lower cost.

The legislation could help state residents who might be earning too much money to qualify for the Income-Based Affordable Care Act (ACA) grants on scholarships, but who do not have health coverage. employer, the statement added.

“The bill will also help consumers who live in counties with limited insurance companies or who fear they will soon have options for affordable coverage,” he said.

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The legislation, and a companion bill introduced in the House, is Democrats’ latest offer to create a public option.

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Sherrod Brown of Ohio introduced legislation in March that adds a public option to ACA contracts. An accompanying bill was also tabled in the House.

The public option would include the same premium tax credits and cost-sharing assistance offered on scholarships.

But it’s not yet clear whether either bill can make it through the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim 50-50 majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker.

Democrats plan to put in place a $ 3.5 trillion infrastructure package that will be passed through a procedural measure called reconciliation, which ensures that budget legislation passes through the Senate via a simple majority and bypasses the 60 votes needed to eliminate a legislative obstruction.

Several health policies are likely to be included in the $ 3.5 trillion package, the main one adding dental, vision and hearing benefits to Medicare. Democrats are also looking to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices.

So far, Democrats have not confirmed that the public option will be included or whether it would qualify to go through reconciliation. The legislation has widespread opposition from Republicans.

Democrats have long sought to add a public option to the ACA after efforts to include it in original legislation in 2009 collapsed.

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