U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) (C-SPAN)U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) (C-SPAN)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) –

Should all Americans be able to buy into Medicaid?

That might be at the core of the Democrats’ new health care strategy. 

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is preparing a bill that would offer states a “buy-in” option for Medicaid, according to Vox

In other words, states would have the ability to open up Medicaid to uninsured people who want to purchase coverage through the federal marketplace. 

“My Medicaid for All plan would create a public option and give every American the opportunity to purchase health care coverage through Medicaid, an efficient, state-run program that has worked well for decades,” Schatz said, on Facebook.

Currently, Medicaid is only available to low-income individuals who qualify, and enrollment guidelines vary from state to state.

Schatz told Vox that he also wants to raise Medicaid payment rates to match the Medicare program.

And he acknowledged he doesn’t know how the plan would affect the private insurance market.

“If the private insurance market can survive, in a context of a public option, good for them,” Schatz told Vox. “But if they can’t, then that will tell you something about the nature of the market.”

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Schatz floats plan that would allow ‘buy-in’ option to Medicaid