Delgado to Deliver on Affordable Healthcare Pledge

Congressman Antonio Delgado (NY-19) hopes to fulfill his campaign promise of affordable public healthcare with the re-introduction of the Medicare-X Choice Act (Med-X).  

If passed, Delgado claims the bill will foster a public option health plan on the individual and small-business levels. The overall goal is to offer more healthcare coverage at lower rates for people of all ages in the United States (U.S.).  

The bill was initially introduced by Senator Michael F. Bennet in 2017 and was revitalized on April 2, read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. As a freshman congressman, this is the first major piece of legislation Delgado has taken ahold of since being elected in November of 2018.   

“It’s unacceptable that despite being the wealthiest country in the world, the U.S. is the only developed country without universal healthcare,” Delgado said in a press release on April 1. “This has been a top priority for me in Congress, and I’m proud to lead my colleagues in introducing a bill to finally get us to universal coverage.”

The plan covers the essential health benefits to align with other existing plans like maternity, pediatric and newborn services. While the current Medicare and Medicaid options provide affordable healthcare for U.S. citizens, only people with specific qualifications can obtain these insurances. Med-X would serve as a public competitor to the private insurance companies, giving people the option of either maintaining their current plan or opting of Med-X healthcare.

Delgado, and other supporters of the bill, hope that the competition Med-X spurs will drive down monthly and annual health insurance bills by providing an affordable rate for the public. Private insurance companies may have to lower their rates in order to account for business lost to Med-X. 

“By building on the successful framework of the Medicare system, Med-X creates an additional affordable healthcare option for the American people,” said Representative John Larson (CT-1). “This is a solution that is bold and achievable and will ensure that every American has access to high-quality, affordable health care.” 

Larson and representative Brian Higgins (NY-26) stand alongside Delgado in their support of the proposed bill.

In the new bill, monthly rates are included in a separate trust fund from the Medicare trust fund, meaning people over the age of 65 will remain unaffected. Additionally, the bill expands access to premium tax credits, which lower one’s monthly insurance bill, to people at and above 400-percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL). According to Healthcare.gov the FPL is “a measure of income issued every year by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)… to determine your eligibility for certain programs and benefits, including savings on Marketplace health insurance, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.” The FPL for 2018 was $12,140 for individuals and $25,100 for a family of four. As it stands, an individual who makes $48,560 annually qualifies for the current Affordable Care Act: anyone with an income above the benchmark would be unqualified. Families at 400-percent of the FPL would pay nine-percent of their household income towards the “benchmark plan,” which increases to 13-percent at 600-percent of the FPL.  

Other provisions allow for providers who participate in Medicare/Medicaid to accept Med-X patients. The bill guides the HHS to enroll extra providers such as pediatricians and OB/GYNs. The HHS will also have the authority to negotiate drug prices and allows the public to participate in these decisions. 

In 2021, Med-X will be available in rural areas in the country,  where only one or few healthcare options are available. By 2024 the plan would be available to the individual market and would be an option on the Small Business Health Options Program exchange in 2025.