The move to allow people ages 55 to 64 to buy into the federal insurance program called Medicare received the endorsement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., late last week. Pelosi said there is certainly a great deal of appeal to expanding Medicare, but she reiterated that she would prefer to create government-sponsored coverage for Americans of all ages.
The idea of expanding Medicare eligibility has been around for some time. However, this is the first time it has been discussed as a possibility in the health care reform movement. The "buy-in" would help 6.5 million Americans who are in an age group in which medical problems become more common and coverage is particularly expensive.
Details of the proposal are not known. The Senators that proposed the Medicare expansion has not disclosed the proposal's fine print. They are waiting for congressional budget analysts to examine the impact for patients and the federal budget.