Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) took to the Floor of the House of Representatives to advocate for common sense changes to expand affordable health care options in America. Higgins is calling for an expansion of Medicare – the most popular and well-run health insurance platform in the country.

The Congressman, who serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means which has jurisdiction over health care legislation, notes that Medicare is an efficient program with very low administrative costs and it is popular with 85% of Medicare beneficiaries satisfied with the care they receive.

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Congressman Higgins made the following remarks on the House of Representatives Floor:

“Mr. Speaker:  A major Western New York health insurance provider announced today that they are seeking an almost 50% increase in health insurance premiums next year.  They cite rising medical and drug costs as reasons for seeking this increase.

“Medicare is the most successful and popular healthcare system in America.  With low administrative costs and high quality outcomes, Americans ages 50-64 should be able to buy-in at their own expense to Medicare.

Under this plan, Medicare could add 10 million more Americans using the leverage of 67 million Americans.  This, Mr. Speaker, is real leverage to drive down health care costs and drive up the quality of that coverage.

“With real patient protections and full and affordable coverage for pre-existing diseases like cancer and diabetes Medicare should be an option for Americans 50-64 years old.”

Under the American Health Care Act, the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, pre-Medicare Americans could be facing steep rate increases.  The Affordable Care act sets a 3:1 limit on the age rating.  The McArthur Amendment to AHCA removes that protection for older Americans, allowing states to set the age ratio as high as they’d like, a policy opposed by the AARP.