health care

Do you support partially expanding Medicare by allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare?

Yes

Yes, supports

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden’s health-care plan includes a public option “like Medicare” that appears to include all Americans, regardless of age.

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Joe Biden
Biden

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. Bennet supports this proposal, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. Booker is a co-sponsor of Stabenow's Medicare at 50 Act.

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Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock (Dropped out)

Governor, Montana

Bullock is no longer running for president. “I support a public option allowing people to buy into Medicare,” Bullock told The Post.

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Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. Buttigieg supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, he told The Post.

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Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. Castro supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, he told The Post.

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Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. “My preference would be to leave Medicare alone and have people in the 50-64 range covered by my universal health-care plan,” Delaney told The Post. “Having said that, allowing people over 50 to buy into Medicare as part of improving the Affordable Care Act is a good idea.”

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John Delaney
Delaney

Bill de Blasio (Dropped out)

Mayor, New York City

de Blasio is no longer running for president. “I support lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 50,” de Blasio told The Post. “I would ensure during the transition to a Medicare-for-All structure we provide those over 50 with the opportunity to buy-into Medicare or if we are unable to accomplish a Medicare-for-All structure I support it as a way to build upon the Affordable Care Act to lower health care costs for millions of Americans. ”

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Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. Gabbard supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, her campaign told The Post.

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Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand is a co-sponsor of Stabenow's Medicare at 50 Act.

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Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, California

Harris is no longer running for president. Harris is a co-sponsor of Stabenow's Medicare at 50 Act.

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Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “Yes, everyone should be able to buy into a public option regardless of age,” Hickenlooper told The Post.

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John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. Inslee supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, she told The Post.

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Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of Stabenow's Medicare at 50 Act.

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Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Beto O'Rourke (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke is no longer running for president. O'Rourke supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, he told The Post.

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Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. Patrick supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, his campaign told The Post.

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Deval Patrick
Patrick

Tim Ryan (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan is no longer running for president. “There are ways to strengthen Obamacare, such as adding a public option, increasing subsidies to make coverage more affordable or lowering the age eligibility for Medicare,” Ryan said in a Facebook post.

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Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. “My Medicare-for-all Act has a four-year transition. Year One involves lowering the Medicare age and improving Medicare benefits, including adding coverage for dental, vision and hearing aids,” Sanders told The Post. “So while I support getting more people onto Medicare, I believe it should be a first step towards further health reform.”

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Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak is no longer running for president. “Yes, but by the public option I propose for all Americans,” Sestak told The Post.

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Joe Sestak
Sestak

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. Steyer supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, he told The Post.

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Tom Steyer
Steyer

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “I support coverage for all, i.e., Medicare for all who want it. This would serve as a public option for any American,” Swalwell told The Post. He co-sponsored the Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017, which would establish a Medicare buy-in option for people ages 50 to 64.

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Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. Warren supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, her campaign told The Post.

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Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. “I’m not opposed to Senator Stabenow’s approach, but I find it not to be comprehensive enough, so I’m putting my effort into more ambitious, holistic approaches,” Williamson told The Post.

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Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. “I agree with the goal of expanding Medicare to be available to and cover more individuals, with the eventual goal of providing a competitive option to all Americans,” Yang told The Post.

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Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. Bloomberg “believes every American should have access to affordable medical care, and expanding Obamacare and Medicare is the best way to achieve universal coverage,” his campaign website said. His campaign did not clarify his position by publication.

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Mike Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

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Seth Moulton
Moulton

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Background Some lawmakers have proposed taking incremental steps to expanding health coverage by lowering the eligibility age and giving more people the option of buying into Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors – essentially, offering “Medicare-for-more.” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the Medicare at 50 Act in February, legislation that was co-sponsored by a number of the Democratic contenders.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll from January 2019, 77 percent of the public favors allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy insurance through Medicare.

How we compiled candidate positions

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic campaign asking whether they support various health-care policies. We organized candidates with similar stances into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town halls and other news reports. See something that we missed? Let us know.

This page will update as we learn more about the candidates’ plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president. If a candidate dropped out after a question was published here, their stance is included under the "Show former candidates" option. If they dropped out before a question was first published, the Post did not reach out to get their stance.

Candidate illustrations by Ben Kirchner.