Joe Biden Proposes Lowering The Medicare Eligibility Age To 60 : Shots

Former Vice President Joe Biden at a press conference in Wilmington, Del., in mid-March. His bid this week to allow 60-year-olds to get Medicare “reflects the reality,” he says, “that, even after the current crisis ends, older Americans are likely to find it difficult to secure jobs.”

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Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden at a press conference in Wilmington, Del., in mid-March. His bid this week to allow 60-year-olds to get Medicare “reflects the reality,” he says, “that, even after the current crisis ends, older Americans are likely to find it difficult to secure jobs.”

Bloomberg via Getty Images

In one of his first proposals since becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden is wading back into the roiling waters of health policy.

In a nod to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, and in what is clearly an overture to supporters of the “Medicare for All” plan pushed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Biden wants to lower the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 60.

“It reflects the reality that, even after the current crisis ends, older Americans are likely to find it difficult to secure jobs,” the former vice president wrote this week in a post on the website Medium. Details on the plan are few, but Biden made clear that Americans aged 60 to 64 who have employer health coverage could keep it if they wanted to, or could join Medicare. Biden writes:

“Under this concept, Americans would have access, if they choose, to Medicare when they turn 60, instead of when they turn 65. Medicare benefits would be provided to them as they are to current Medicare recipients. This would make Medicare available to a set of Americans who work hard and retire before they turn 65, or who would prefer to leave their employer plans, the public option, or other plans they access through the Affordable Care Act before they retire.”

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