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I was reading this opinion piece about the new Trump presidency and healthcare legislation. They mention an interesting thought at the end:

it if Trump decided to ... lowering the age-limit for Medicare to zero by executive order.

The question is simple: would this be legal? Once Trump is inaugurated, can he create "Medicare for all" with the stroke of a pen?

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No.

The scope of Medicare is established by statute which must be amended with a statute approved by Congress and signed by the President, or approved after being vetoed by the President with a veto override, to be changed. The age limitation is set forth at 42 U.S.C. 1395c:

The insurance program for which entitlement is established by sections 226 and 226A provides basic protection against the costs of hospital, related post-hospital, home health services, and hospice care in accordance with this part for (1) individuals who are age 65 or over and are eligible for retirement benefits under title II of this Act (or would be eligible for such benefits if certain government employment were covered employment under such title) or under the railroad retirement system, (2) individuals under age 65 who have been entitled for not less than 24 months to benefits under title II of this Act (or would have been so entitled to such benefits if certain government employment were covered employment under such title) or under the railroad retirement system on the basis of a disability, and (3) certain individuals who do not meet the conditions specified in either clause (1) or (2) but who are medically determined to have end stage renal disease.

Also, money doesn't grow on trees. The only way to provide that greatly expanded single payer health care benefit would be to raise hundreds of millions of dollars or more of new taxes to pay for it. Any new tax would have to be proposed with a bill initiated in the House of Representatives, approved by the Senate, and then passed by the President (or approved over his veto with a veto override).

Likewise, the increased appropriation of funds for the benefits would have to be approved by Congress, even though it is an entitlement, because current legislation doesn't authorize spending for that purpose.

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In theory, I suppose it's possible to create it by selling Medicare on the market at cost, but if you set that cost too low I don't have to look very far to find it blatantly unconstitutional. Let's just say that having a little problem of being unable to correctly how much it should cost breaking you sounds like something dicey to begin with.

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