Medicare Age Change Pushed in Budget Bill


August 11, 2021 9:27 am

Progressive Democrats in the Senate say lowering the age at which Americans can join Medicare remains a top priority, even as their colleagues signal the issue is likely to fall off the party’s agenda this year.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) both told Bloomberg Government they’re pushing to include a provision lowering the age to join Medicare to 60 or lower. Warren has sought to lower the age to 55.

“I’ll be fighting to reduce the Medicare age—the eligibility age—because it saves money and saves lives,” Warren said yesterday. Sanders also said lowering the age will be important. Supporters of change say up to 20 million Americans could join Medicare by lowering the age to join to 60.

A senior Democratic aide, however, said it’s unlikely that Democrats include it in their reconciliation measure, a budget procedure that allows a simply majority to pass legislation. Party leaders unveiled $1 trillion in health-care provisions for the budget package that will compete with the age change, including additional new benefits for Medicare and extending an expansion of Obamacare.

Unlike the expansion of Obamacare, hospitals and insurers oppose lowering the age to join Medicare. By taking it on Democrats risk the ire of much of the health care industry, Alex Ruoff reports.