Democrats Make Expanded Government-Run Health Insurance an Election Issue

By Susan Jones | June 6, 2018 | 8:27am EDT
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants to lower the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 55. (Photo: Screen capture/C-SPAN)

( - Senate Democrats are making expanded, government-run health care their main issue in the upcoming mid-term election. "We want to expand access to Medicare," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told a news conference on Tuesday.

One, we want to expand access to Medicare. Many of us in this caucus believe 55 should be the age you can buy. Two, we want to increase tax credits to help families afford the cost of health care. Three, we want to create a National Reinsurance Program to lower premiums. Four, we want to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions don't get denied or priced out of insurance due to an expansion of junk insurance. And five, we want to lower the skyrocketing costs of drugs.

The rate hikes are coming. High drug costs are coming. If this Republican Congress fails to act, millions upon millions of families will pay more. We are telling our Republican colleagues, let's seize the month of August to get the job done and prevent these rate hikes.

Schumer welcomed the announcement from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday that the August recess is canceled.

"We Democrats welcome this additional time because it gives us the opportunity to address an issue that's on the top of the mind of so many of the American people and one that Republicans have badly mishandled up to this point, health care. We welcome the opportunity to address it and we're going to work very hard in August require our Republican colleagues to do something about it," Schumer said.

President Trump, in recounting the accomplishments of his first 500 days, mentioned "repeal and replace" on Tuesday:

"We had Repeal & Replace done (and the saving to our country of one trillion dollars) except for one person, but it is getting done anyway. Individual Mandate is gone and great, less expensive plans will be announced this month. Drug prices coming down & Right to Try!" he tweeted on Tuesday.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) torpedoed the Republicans' attempt to partially repeal Obamacare last year. But the tax bill passed by the Republican majority at the end of 2017 repealed Obamacare's individual mandate, which required people to purchase insurance or else pay a penalty.

Since then, Congress has done nothing about what was a major election issue in 2016 -- until now, with the midterm election just five months away.

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