Progressives Reintroduce ‘Medicare For All’ Bill

Key progressives in the House and Senate have revived the fight in Congress over “Medicare for All,” a single-payer health system based on the Medicare program.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, and Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, reintroduced the Medicare for All Act, with 14 Senate Democrats and 110 House Democrats on board with the measure.

The legislation would roll out the Medicare for All model over four years, expanding health coverage to each American. Under the bill, that coverage would come with no premiums, deductibles or copayments and would cover a wide array of services from primary care to vision care to mental health.

Sanders said in a news release that the COVID-19 pandemic threw into stark relief how critical it is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable healthcare.

“As we speak, there are millions of people who would like to go to a doctor but cannot afford to do so,” Sanders said. “That is an outrage. In America, your health and your longevity should not be dependent on your bank account or your stock portfolio.”

The legislators noted that the Congressional Budget Office previously projected that Medicare for All would save the healthcare system $650 billion per year.

“Sadly, the number of people struggling to afford care continues to skyrocket as millions of people lose their current health insurance as pandemic-era programs end,” Jayapal said. “Breaking a bone or getting sick shouldn’t be a reason that people in the richest country in the world go broke.”

Medicare for All faces strong opposition from all corners of the industry. In a statement, the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, which represents payers and providers, urged legislators to take a more “common sense approach” to ensuring coverage is accessible to everyone.

“Every American deserves access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care—however one-size-fits-all proposals like Medicare for All that result in government-controlled health care won’t help us get there,” said Executive Director Lauren Crawford Shaver. “With more and more states seeing failed public option approaches, it is more important than ever that Americans have access to quality and affordable health care—not a system that would force them to pay more and wait longer for worse care. ”


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