3 things to know about Warren's public-option transition plan to 'Medicare for All'

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts pledged to use the budget reconciliation process to create a "Medicare for All option" in her first 100 days in office, using the public option as an on-ramp to a single-payer system, which she plans to implement by the end of her first term. 

Budget reconciliation is a legislative process used to review spending, revenues and the federal debt limit in both chambers of Congress. In the Senate, the process prevents the use of a filibuster and requires only a simple majority, rather than a three-fifths majority, to pass. Former President Barack Obama used it to pass the ACA, Ms. Warren notes in her plan, and Republicans also tried to use it to undo the ACA.     

As part of her plan for the first 100 days in office, Ms. Warren said she would use the reconciliation process to do the following:

1. Create a Medicare for All public option. This plan, which would provide the same coverage as Medicare for All, would be free for children under age 18 and anyone at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Adults making above 200 percent of the FPL would pay premiums based on income, up to 5 percent. There would be no deductibles, and the plan would eventually scale premiums down to $0 for everyone enrolled. This option would be offered on the ACA exchanges, and anyone uninsured would be automatically enrolled, with the option to opt out. States would be offered incentives to move Medicaid recipients into this plan.

2. Lower the Medicare-eligible age to 50. Uninsured people who fall into this age bracket will be automatically enrolled in Medicare. Ms. Warren also pledged to expand Medicare benefits to "the greatest extent possible," adding items like vision, dental and hearing benefits.

3. Strengthen ACA health plans. Ms. Warren's plan includes expanding tax credits for people buying ACA plans and allowing people to opt in to the exchanges, even if they have employer-based coverage.

The candidate pledged to begin the fight for a full, single-payer system no later than her third year in office, with the goal of passing the law by the end of a first term. She also promised a host of actions in her first 100 days, including plans to lower drug prices, address industry consolidation and limit the effects of lobbying in healthcare. Read the full outline here.


More articles on leadership and management:

Senate Democrats seek to create federal agency for drug cost control
Deval Patrick plans to step down from healthcare boards for presidential run
Moody's chief economist: Numbers check out on Warren's 'Medicare for All' funding plan

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