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Major Medicare expansion to 23 million would lower eligibility to 60

Nearly 25% of people between 60 and 65 go without health insurance until eligibility for Medicare begins. Lawmakers and President Joe Biden are moving toward a bill that would lower Medicare eligibility to 60.

The Improving Medicare Coverage Act would expand Medicare coverage to nearly 23 million people, according to supporters of the bill before Congress.

There are over 125 lawmakers who introduced the legislation on Friday, and would be an unprecedented move for older Americans.

“Lowering the Medicare eligibility age will not only be life-changing for at least 23 million people, it will also be life-saving for so many across America who will finally be able to get the care they need and deserve,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, said after the bill’s introduction. “Expanding and improving this wildly popular program is not only the right thing to do from a policy perspective, it is also what the majority of Americans across party lines support.”

Lawmakers say that mortality rates decrease at 65 because of Medicare. Those between 60-64 often put off important medical care, which creates a higher mortality rate for that group compared to other countries.

The pandemic exacerbated the problem. “Many older Americans lost their jobs and their health insurance as the uninsured rate skyrocketed,” lawmakers who introduced the legislation said in a joint statement. “While the economic recovery has begun for some, older workers are currently being hired at a lower rate than those in younger age groups.”

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