Senators Brown, Fetterman introduce legislation to expand Medicare access to retired first responders
Ohio-based U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown alongside Pennsylvania-based Senator, John Fetterman have introduced legislation to expand access to Medicare to retired first responders.
As it stands, first responders, like most others are eligible for Medicare at age 65 or older. If passed, this legislation would lower that age limit to 50 for retired police officers, firefighters and EMS workers.
According to a press release from Senator Brown's office, first responders often retire earlier than most other workers due to the dangerous conditions they work in, and as such could experience gaps in health care coverage.
"Ohio firefighters and other first responders wear their bodies out protecting our families and communities and they should have access to affordable health care when their service comes to an end," Senator Brown said.
"In the richest country on Earth, we should be able to guarantee quality health care to the people who protect our health and livelihood every day regardless of when they retire," Fetterman added.
Health care provided under this legislation would include the same benefits provided under the existing Medicare program. Retirees would be eligible for tax credits, subsidies and tax-advantaged contributions from their former employer or pension plan.
Additionally, this bill is implemented in a way that will not negatively impact the existing Medicare program, beneficiaries or trust fund.
The bill is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Union of Police Associations, the National Assocaition of Police Organizations, the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, the National Sheriff's Association and the National Troopers Coalition.
The bill is also co-sponsored by Connecticut-based U.S. Senator, Richard Blumenthal.