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Delgado pushing Medicare opt-in program

April 05, 2019 09:58 PM

Rep. Antonio Delgado wants to offer a Medicare option for everyone. He says it would lower premiums and deductibles at no additional cost to taxpayers.

This plan would allow people to keep their private insurance plans if they want to, according to Delgado, but it also gives them the opportunity to buy into a Medicare program.

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Delgado says the Medicare-X Choice Act would combine Medicare physician networks and reimbursement rates with coverage standards established by the Affordable Care Act.

He says the Medicare plans would be more affordable because the program would be run as a not for profit.

If passed, he says this is an opt-in program that would be phased in beginning 2021 in rural areas where coverage options are limited. Delgado said by 2024 it would be available to individuals -- and by 2025 it would be an option on the small business exchange.

"There is a time period, one year any rural communities. In a couple years in individual markets, three years out it's the small business exchange," Delgado said. "So there's a rollout process for us to be able to see how we can fix and course correct if there's things that are going awry."

WEB EXTRA: Full interview with Rep. Antonio Delgado

Delgado says that process should prevent issues with physician shortages or longer wait times: two of the biggest issues associated with universal health care programs.

The bill also looks expand the number of people who are eligible for tax credits to assist with premiums.

Delgado says the premiums would be set so that there is no additional tax burden on the public.

NewsChannel 13 asked Delgado if there's any risk that providers would not want to participate because they'd see less profit from Medicare claim payouts. He said it's not likely:

"While there may be some difference in terms of the actual price paid or price points, if there are more and more people who now have the opportunity to actually opt into care, the pool of individuals that are engaged is going to help all of those who are doing the work," Delgado said.


MORE INFORMATION: Medicare X fact sheet

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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