Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a provision calling for a public option as a transition to the “Medicare for all” proposed in Bernie Sanders’s bill. Credit: Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

To the Editor:

Re “In Outline of ‘Medicare for All,’ a More Modest Starting Point” (The Upshot, Sept. 16):

We support proposals that look to the Medicare program as a starting point for expanding coverage. Before doing so, however, Congress should improve Medicare for its current and future beneficiaries. Drawing on our expertise from serving people with Medicare, these improvements are critical:

Fill in coverage gaps, including vision, hearing and dental coverage; include a cap on out-of-pocket expenses and a prescription drug benefit in the traditional Medicare program; strengthen assistance for low-income people; ensure the right to buy supplemental Medigap insurance for all Medicare beneficiaries, including those under 65; and ease transitions into Medicare from other types of insurance.

The Medicare program is a national treasure. We should preserve and enhance it as we work toward the goal of comprehensive universal coverage. Then Medicare can truly help reduce the national uninsured rate to zero.

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