Legislation would enable 50-year-old Americans to qualify for Medicare

A group of Democratic Senators reintroduced what became known as the Medicare at 50 Act, which would widen Medicare's access to Americans between the ages of 50 and 64.
"This legislation has the potential to cut people's costs and strengthen the existing Medicare program," Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who sponsored the bill along with twenty Democratic co-sponsors, told reporters on Wednesday . "And it would help strengthen the health insurance market."
A 2019 University of Michigan survey found that 27% of adults nearing retirement had little or no confidence in the ability to afford health insurance for the next year, and 45% had little or no confidence had no confidence to afford the cost of their health insurance once they retired.
"You've worked hard all your life and just can't handle physical labor anymore. You try to hold on to around 65," Stabenow said, referring to the age at which Americans automatically qualify for Medicare . “Perhaps you are 55 or 58 years old and need to retire because of your specific job. Many people are in this situation. "
Senator Debbie Stabenow (R) and Senator Tammy Baldwin attend a press conference to announce legislation that will allow people between the ages of 50 and 64 to shop at Medicare in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson / Getty Images)
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"My goal in life is to live until I'm 65."
There is bipartisan support for expanding Medicare eligibility among Americans: a January 2019 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 77% of 1,190 respondents - including 69% of Republican respondents - had a Medicare buy-in plan for individuals Endorsed from an age of 50.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), one of the law's co-sponsors, told reporters a story about one of its constituents.
"I remember going to a town hall meeting in Youngstown, Ohio a few years ago and a woman stood up and said," I'm 63 years old. My goal in life is to live until I am 65 so I can get Medicare. My goal in life is not to take a trip to New York or to see my grandchildren, ”Brown said at the press conference. “She was so focused on her health care. She had two jobs at the time, both low-wage jobs and no insurance. She just knew the importance of having insurance and getting into what is popular and important and sufficient and effective as Medicare. "
"Something achievable"
The legislation also goes a step further than President Biden's Medicare plan, which proposed lowering the Medicare Eligible Age to 60 years.
"After four years of President Trump working to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deprive people of options and health insurance, it is so welcome to turn the page," said Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) , one of the contributors to the bill sponsors, said on the call. "If it is a matter of bringing affordable health care to every American, we must do more now to change the status quo, improve our health system and reduce costs."
Baldwin also cited the millions of Americans estimated to have lost their employer-sponsored health care during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, highlighting how this could affect their ability to provide essential services such as prescription drug costs , Substance use disorder or emergency room care to cover care.
A protective mask pedestrian checks her phone near a billboard for Medicare for All bus stops in Washington, DC on April 22, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)
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If the law were passed, eligible Americans would be entitled to the same benefits and protections as Americans who are eligible for full Medicare by the age of 65.
The bill would also ensure that there would be no adverse impact on those who would already be eligible for Medicare without the bill.
"As people near retirement, their health needs tend to increase," Brown said. “The importance of prescription drugs is increasing and their costs are increasing. Choosing Medicare over the age of 50 would fix the problem. It is something achievable that we can do right now to improve the lives of millions of Americans. "
Adriana Belmonte is a reporter and policy editor for Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on Twitter @adrianambells and reach out to her at adriana@yahoofinance.com.
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