Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Thursday proposed lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60.
The change came one day after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who championed Medicare for All, dropped out of the presidential race.
"And to be clear — these are priorities now, but they will be my program when I am President," Biden said in a statement announcing the proposal.
Biden proposed paying for the change with general revenues instead of the Medicare Trust Fund. Medicare trustees projected in their most recent report that the fund would be insolvent by 2026.
Biden framed the change as necessary because he said that older workers who lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic may have difficulty finding new jobs that provide employer-sponsored health insurance.
But the concession may not be enough to win over progressive voters whom Biden is courting. Sanders senior campaign aide David Sirota tweeted his criticism of the plan as too limited by comparing it to a more aggressive push by liberal Democratic senators to lower the eligibility age during debate on the Affordable Care Act.
"For reference, lowering Medicare to age 60 is actually a retreat from Senate Dems' own push 10 years ago to lower it to age 55," Sirota said.