RELEASE: CAP Proposes New ‘Medicare Extra for All’ Plan to Guarantee Universal Health Coverage to All Americans

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Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress is proposing a new health plan that would guarantee universal coverage and health security for all Americans.

The new system, “Medicare Extra for All,” is modeled on the highly popular Medicare program that now covers Americans age 65 and older. But it would be available to everyone regardless of income, health status, age, or insurance status. At the same time, it would preserve employer coverage as an option for those Americans satisfied with their current coverage.

Medicare Extra includes important enhancements to the current Medicare program: an out-of-pocket limit, coverage of dental care and hearing aids, and integrated drug benefits. Medicare Extra would eliminate underinsurance, offering coverage with zero or low deductibles as well as no-cost preventive care, generic drugs, and treatment for chronic disease. Premiums would be capped based on income to ensure affordability and handled automatically through the tax system.

The new plan would strengthen, streamline, and integrate Medicaid coverage with guaranteed quality into a national program. Employers would have the option of sponsoring Medicare Extra and employees would have the option of choosing Medicare Extra over their employer coverage. Medicare Extra would also preserve and reform Medicare Advantage private insurance.

The cost of coverage would be offset by significantly reducing health care costs combined with additional tax revenue options. It also would implement long overdue reforms to the payment and delivery system and take advantage of Medicare’s administrative efficiencies.

Payment rates for medical providers would reference current Medicare rates and employer plans would be able to take advantage of these savings. Medicare Extra would negotiate prescription drug prices by giving preference to drugs whose prices reflect value and innovation.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege,” said Neera Tanden, president and CEO of CAP. “The Affordable Care Act was an historic accomplishment and a giant step toward universal health coverage. The sustained political fight over the law shows that Americans want to expand coverage, not repeal it. Medicare Extra would take the next step by guaranteeing the right of all Americans to enroll in the same high-quality health care plan. It is time to guarantee universal coverage and health security for all Americans.”

Read the plan: Medicare Extra for All: A Plan to Guarantee Universal Health Coverage in the United States by the Center for American Progress Health Policy Team

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org, or 202-478-6327.