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Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley lists the benefits of improving life for all Americans…

Sen. Jeff Merkley
D-Oregon

Everyone — regardless of what they look like, where they live, or where they work — deserves access to health care. But unfortunately, there are lots of folks in each of our communities who are one diagnosis or accident away from financial ruin. I continue to hear from Oregonians who time and time again are facing the difficult decision between going to the doctor or filling a prescription and paying rent or keeping food on the table. In the richest country in the world, no person should have to make those kinds of choices, or worry about whether they’ll be able to afford care.

Luckily, we already have an effective solution: Medicare, one of the most popular federal programs in our nation’s history. Not only does Medicare currently provide health care coverage for 61 million Americans, including 850,000 Oregonians, but it also does so at a fraction of the cost of profit-driven health insurers. So why not give every American access to this successful program?

That’s why my colleagues and I have continued to team up in our fight to develop a public health insurance option, and why I’m helping lead the introduction of the Choose Medicare Act. This legislation would create a Medicare option for all, giving those who are not already eligible for Medicare or Medicaid the opportunity to get high-quality, affordable health care through a plan they already know and trust. It also gives employers the ability to purchase Medicare for their employees.

By giving Americans the option to choose Medicare coverage instead of private health insurance, the Choose Medicare Act would help drive down costs, help more Americans with pre-existing conditions access coverage, and extend Medicare eligibility among working families. The Choose Medicare Act also creates the pathway we need to get to universal health care, so that no American ever needs to worry about going bankrupt just because they become sick or injured.

Access to quality, affordable and accessible health care should be a right for every American, not a privilege reserved for the healthy and wealthy. Please know that I’m going to keep fighting to make sure everyone has access to the comprehensive, affordable health insurance they deserve.

All my best,
Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon

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