Senate Democrats Consider Major Medicare Expansion For Healthcare Overhaul

12.08.09 | FL News Team

Democrats in the U.S. Senate are looking at expanding the Medicare program to include people as young as 55. The current age standard is 65. A group of ten senators gathered behind closed doors for a third consecutive day to talk about that possibility. Also under discussion is the public insurance plan as well as a major sticking point, restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortions.

 The idea currently under consideration would allow people who are 55 and older, who don't have affordable healthcare insurance, to buy a plan under Medicare. Republicans criticized the idea. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said, quote, "if your goal was to come up with a plan for financial ruin, you couldn't come up with a better idea than cutting a program by 500-billion dollars and simultaneously expanding the number of people it is required to cover."

 An amendment penned by Democratic Senator Ben Nelson addresses abortion. His plan would block anyone receiving federal subsidies from buying an insurance plan to cover abortions and would ban any government insurance plan from offering coverage for the procedure. Nelson has threatened to vote against the entire healthcare overhaul package if his amendment isn't approved.