50 Years Later - it's time for Medicare "Part E!"

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill that created Medicare and ensured that senior citizens would never again have to go without life-saving medical care.

And now, it’s time to reboot – and use a very, very, very simple message so all Americans can understand it.

Let’s use Medicare, which nearly every American understands. Just create “Medicare Part E” where the “E” represents “everybody.” Just let any citizen in the US buy into Medicare.

It would be so easy. No need to reinvent the wheel with a so-called “public option” that would be a whole new program from the ground up. Medicare already exists. It works. Some people will like it, others won’t – but everyone will have access to affordable healthcare.

Just pass a simple bill – it could probably be just a few lines, like when Medicare was expanded to include disabled people – that says that any American citizen can buy into the program at a rate to be set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which reflects the actual cost for us to buy into it.

Thus, Medicare Part E would be revenue neutral!

To make it available to people of low income, Congress could raise the rates slightly for all currently non-eligible people (like me - under 65) to cover the cost of below-200%-of-poverty people. Revenue neutral again.

This would blow up all the rumors about death panels and grandma and everything else: everybody knows what Medicare is. Those who scorn it can go with United Healthcare and it’s $100 million/year CEO. Those who like Medicare can buy into Part E. Simplicity itself.

Of course, we’d like a few fixes, like letting negotiate drug prices, and fill some of the other holes Republicans and AARP and the big insurance lobbyists have drilled into Medicare so people have to buy “supplemental” insurance, but that can wait for the second round. Let’s get this done first.

Simple stuff. Medicare for anybody who wants it. Private health insurance for those who don’t. Easy message. Even Ted Cruz and Donald Trump can understand it. They can buy into it, or ignore it. No death panels, no granny plugs, nothing. Just a few sentences.

Replace the “you must be disabled or 65” with “here’s what it’ll cost if you want to buy in, and here’s the sliding scale of subsidies we’ll give you if you’re poor, paid for by everybody else who’s buying in.” This creates Part E.

And if this fails – if the Congress can’t get out from under their corporate overlords – at the very least they can pressure their Red state governors to expand Medicaid to all low-income Americans.

In the richest nation on Earth, it's unacceptable that anyone should be suffering without healthcare. Let's join every other developed nation on Earth and make healthcare a right - not a privilege.


w1ders's picture
w1ders 7 years 44 weeks ago

Since it makes perfect sense and the people are for it our politicians won't do it.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 44 weeks ago

Sounds great! Sign me up!!

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 7 years 44 weeks ago

Unrigging and cleaning up elections would pave the way for Medicare for Everyone.

timalantoo's picture
timalantoo 7 years 44 weeks ago


Plan to use to shifts not one for all employees cuts overhead cost& carbonfootprint 50% This will also improve customer service for Social Security & Medicare & Obamacare and it will stop the closing of hundreds of local Social Security Offices. HHS/CMS should place staff in each office & establish community presence for Medicare, Obamacare, IRS. Their business is to complex for just 800 # service.

email me@ timalantoo@hotmail.com for details

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 44 weeks ago

Oh c'mon....we all know government can't do anything right, except for spending trillions on pre-emptive war.

Trillions for health care, or trillions on war for profit?...it's a no-brainer in our Fascist Merica.

I'm sure my first sentence makes perfect sense to foxmerized citizens, so just in case one or two are reading tonights blog.... I'm just being facetious.

ezstreit's picture
ezstreit 7 years 44 weeks ago

I am on MEDICARE and its just fine. During my working years I paid into this system and now get its benefits. I also served in the military and so am "entitled" to VA medical benefits. However, after the 1st Iraq war the VA was overwhelmed and underfunded so in 2002 they instituted a means test which measures ones income and assets. So unless a health condition is service connected (in many cases hard to prove) so one has to pay on a sliding scale based on income/assets or may be excluded altogether (like me) from benefits. Folks I know with good assets who applied for medical benefits before 2002 continue to receive benefits like hearing aids at low cost. I can predict that if "Medicare Part E" comes about eventually new enrolees will be subjected to a means test like the VA. Since medical costs are one of the biggest in the Federal budget this will result in redistrubution of income on a grand scale.

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 7 years 44 weeks ago

Obtaining a Supplemental Policy to cover Part A hospitalization charges, not covered by regular Medicare, was the main reason why my wife and I went with AARP United Healthcare rather than regular Medicare. Under regular Medicare, if you don't have any hospitalization charges your still required to pay a monthly premium for a supplemental Part A policy every month, $35.00 in our case. My wife has had a couple of surgeries over recent years and the hospital co-pays under AARP United Healthcare both times were under fifty Dollars. We don't have to pay extra for Part D Drug coverage and the largest drug co-pay I have had to pay in the last five years was $30.00 for a drug that was not on United Healthcare's list of approved drugs, we were paying $30.00 a month for Part D Coverage under regular Medicare and we were also limited by their list of approved drugs. Under regular Medicare the additional co-pays and monthly payments for a supplement policy and Part D coverage were jacking up our monthly healthcare costs without increasing the level of service ! We rarely have to pay anything when we leave our chosen primary care physician's office under AARP United Healthcare. United Healthcare even provides a free help line for it's members who can call in and talk to a registered nurse concerning any health related problems they are experiencing !

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 7 years 44 weeks ago

ezstreit; Outrageous for a U.S. Military Vet to be treated this way ! I'm a Vietnam Vet and when I left the service in the early seventies I was able to secure a good private sector job with excellent healthcare so I was able to avoid the hassle of going through the VA. I refuse to be a burden on the military healthcare system when today's vets are being forced to endure something less than the best healthcare available.

I would suggest that you look into AARP United Healthcare, they normally have day long meetings at local restaurants for potential customers to attend where they can give you all the specifics and show you the savings that can be experienced with their plan over standard Medicare. No high pressure sales techniques and my wife and I have been with them for seven years now ! Their are some limitations related to specific illnesses but that is the first thing they usually cover with a group of potential customers.

Right now I agree that the future doesn't look to good for average Americans seeking an affordable source of comprehensive healthcare. But many Americans are awakening to this and other worsening dilemmas in this country and I think we can expect a major change in the next couple of years ! As many point out, the average working citizens in this country are already paying for a higher level of healthcare than they and their families are currently receiving !

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 44 weeks ago

Thom, I'm ready!

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Screwed:
"Once again, Thom Hartmann hits the bull’s eye with a much needed exposé of the so-called ‘free market.’ Anyone concerned about the future of our nation needs to read Screwed now."
Michael Toms, Founding President, New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network and author of A Time For Choices: Deep Dialogues for Deep Democracy
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Hartmann combines a remarkable piece of historical research with a brilliant literary style to tell the grand story of corporate corruption and its consequences for society with the force and readability of a great novel."
David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Agenda for A New Economy