RELEASE: Medicare Extra Would Provide Universal Coverage and Lower Costs for All for $2.8 Trillion

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released cost and enrollment estimates for Medicare Extra, the organization’s universal health care proposal released in early 2018. The Medicare Extra framework was introduced as legislation called Medicare for America by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) last year before being reintroduced in the 116th Congress in April 2019. CAP commissioned modeling for Medicare Extra from the health care consulting firm Avalere, which produced three cost and enrollment estimates for plan designs varying by generosity. The analysis finds that Medicare Extra would:

  • Provide universal coverage for $2.8 trillion over a 10-year period—a total that could be financed exclusively through tax increases on the wealthy
  • Reduce premium and out-of-pocket costs substantially across income groups for current Medicare beneficiaries, employees who switch to the Medicare plan, individuals currently enrolled in markets under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and employees who choose to remain in employer coverage
  • Increase the federal government’s leverage to negotiate prices and reduce costs by enrolling roughly 2 in 3 Americans in Medicare Extra or Original Medicare by 2031. Medicaid and Medicare currently cover just 43 percent of Americans
  • Reduce the cost of prescription drugs and hospitals without resulting in negative margins
  • Reduce national health expenditures by more than $300 billion each year by 2031 relative to current law

Avalere estimates that the more generous designs of the Medicare Extra framework would total $3.5 trillion and $4.5 trillion, respectively, over the course of 10 years—with the higher cost varieties further reducing out-of-pocket costs and extending no-cost health care to millions more low-income Americans.

“For $2.8 trillion — a sum that would allow policymakers to avoid middle-class tax increases, Medicare Extra could guarantee health care for all Americans, lower costs for everyone, and take on the cost drivers in the health care system,” said Neera Tanden, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress. “Too many Americans can’t afford health insurance, and too many with insurance can’t afford to access care. This plan responds to those concerns by boosting the government’s leverage to lower health care costs and giving workers and employers the option to move over to an enhanced Medicare plan at their own pace. While the plan would end the need for private insurance, it would continue to be an option available to all who want it.”

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll out this week finds that, by a 70 to 25 percent margin, Americans think Medicare for all who want it is a good idea—including 90 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Independents, and nearly half of Republicans.

Please click here to read “Medicare Extra: Universal Coverage for Less Than $3 Trillion and Lower Health Care Costs for All” by the Center for American Progress Health Team.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at cseeberger@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6292