Delgado unveils Medicare-X
WASHINGTON, DC — While some Democratic candidates for president in 2020 are advocating for a Medicare-for-All type of national health insurance program, Rep. Antonio Delgado is instead calling for a public option. The program he introduced in the House of Representatives on April 3, the Medicare-X Choice Act (MXCA), would give people living with inadequate health coverage, or without it completely, the right to opt into coverage in the Medicare program.
“Our constituents expect us to take on the big issues impacting their lives. We must roll up our sleeves and get to work so we can lower the cost of coverage for all Americans,” Delgado said. “With this bill, we’re introducing more choice and more competition to the marketplace, starting in the places that need it most—like rural areas with provider shortages. This much-needed competition will drive down costs for everyone.”
The bill, which was first introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, would begin in rural areas where consumers have limited healthcare options. By 2024, all Americans would have the option to buy into Medicare, but private insurance programs would remain in place and people could choose to keep their plans.
Republicans are calling MXCA an unworkable socialist program. Michael McAdams, National Press Secretary of the National Republican Congressional Committee issued a press release that said, “Delgado’s legislation would result in more government-run healthcare leaving folks with worse care at higher costs, and ignores experts’ warnings that ‘any type of public insurance option would drive private companies out of business, raise costs for employers and workers and increase budget deficits.’”
The U.S Public Interest Research Group supports the plan. Lance Kilpatrick, the group’s U.S. High Value Healthcare Campaign director, issued the following endorsement of the legislation:
“Millions of Americans love Medicare for delivering quality care at a reasonable price. The Medicare X Choice Act would provide the rest of the country with the chance to choose insurance similar to Medicare that delivers excellent medical treatment at a fair cost.
“By providing competition to private insurance plans, the bill will encourage other health care providers to innovate by cutting wasteful spending on useless procedures and tests, reducing administrative overhead and delivering higher-value services.”
The American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) opposed the plan because they contend that it would not reimburse hospitals and healthcare systems at a rate high enough to be sustainable. The two organizations released a report in March that said, “The proposal would result in the largest ever cut to hospitals—nearly $800 billion—and be particularly disruptive to the employer-sponsored health insurance market. The study further finds these significant disruptions would result in only a modest decrease in the number of uninsured compared to how many people would gain coverage through leveraging the public/private framework that exists under current law.”