EARTH FUTURE ACTION
MEDICARE FOR ALL BILLS 2019
A HISTORIC MOMENT FOR OUR NATION
PAVING THE ROAD TO A SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
A PATH TO HEALTH AND SECURITY
There are currently two Medicare for All bills being considered in Congress that have the potential for paving the road for a single payer health care system in the United States. This is a historic moment in our nation's history.
A single-payer health care system is one in which a single, government-run health plan provides insurance coverage for all Americans.
This report will cover Bernie Sanders' and Representative Pramila Jayapal's plans.
BERNIE SANDERS 2019 MEDICARE FOR ALL PLAN
On April 10th, 2019, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) released his Medicare for All Plan. This plan will be a major part of his 2020 Presidential Campaign. The goal is to create a government-run system to provide health insurance for all Americans. While Sanders has proposed legislation to create a single-payer system before, his current bill would go further in covering long-term care for people with disabilities. Sanders, who helped to promote Medicare for All into mainstream politics, hopes embracing a sweeping change in the American health care system will help separate him from a crowded primary field.
The bill would do the following:
- Cover primary and preventive care, prescription drugs,
dental and vision care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, as
well as maternity, newborn and long-term care through a government-run
- Let Americans see any doctor they want to with no deductibles or copays
- Effectively end the private health insurance market
The statement on the official Bernie Sanders senate website explains the plan:
"Sanders’ legislation fundamentally transforms the country’s dysfunctional health care system by eliminating profit-driven health insurance corporations and instead covering every resident through an improved Medicare plan at far lower cost to working families and the nation as a whole." (Sanders Senate Site)
Bernie Sanders has said the following about his plan:
“In my view, the current debate over Medicare for All really has nothing to do with health care. It’s all about greed and profiteering. It is about whether we maintain a dysfunctional system which allows the top five health insurance companies to make over $20 billion in profits last year,” Sanders said. “The American people are increasingly clear. They want a health care system which guarantees health care to all Americans as a right. They want a healthcare system which will lower healthcare costs and save them money. They want a health care system which will guarantee them freedom of choice as to which doctor or hospital they can go to. They want a health care system which will substantially lower the cost of prescription drugs. They want Medicare for seniors which will finally cover dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses. In other words, they want Medicare for All, and that’s what we will deliver to them.” (Sanders Senate Site)
However, the Sanders plan has drawn criticism. Particularly, how to pay for it. The Federation of American Hospitals, which represents more than 1,000 hospitals, is also strongly opposed to the bill. "Medicare for All means that Americans would lose the coverage they trust. Medicare for All repeals the ACA, it repeals the employer-based coverage 180 million people depend upon, it repeals Medicare, it repeals Medicaid and throws millions of kids off the insurance they have today. It will force patients into an untested system that will disrupt care for every American," the group's CEO, Chip Kahn, said in a prepared statement.
Bernie Sanders Statement on his Medicare for All Plan (Sanders Senate Site)
Bernie Sanders Introduces 'Medicare for All' Bill. Here's What It Says (Fortune, 4-10-19)
Sanders' new 'Medicare for All' legislation: 5 things to know (Beckers Hospital Review, 4-10-19)
PRAMILA JAYAPAL'S 2019 MEDICARE FOR ALL PLAN
On March 13th, 2019, Representative Pramila Jayapal's (D-WA) introduced her Medicare for All bill. It is being hailed as an "astonishingly strong" plan. More than 100 congressional co-sponsors are on Jayapal's side. Her bill envisions a quick transition to a public health care plan with a robust set of benefits.
When explaining her plan, Jayapal has said, “We mean a complete transformation of our health care system and we mean a system where there are no private insurance companies that provide these core benefits,” Jayapal told reporters. “We mean universal care, everybody in, nobody out.” (Vox, 2-26-19)
Jayapal’s bill envisions a future where all Americans have health coverage and pay nothing out of pocket when they visit the doctor or hospital. Her plan, the Medicare for All Act of 2019, describes a benefit package that is more generous than what other single-payer countries, like England or Canada, currently offer. The benefits in Jayapal’s bill are even more generous than those included in Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Medicare-for-all plan.
So what specifically would Jayapal's legislation do? CNBC lists a few things:
- It would create a single-payer, government-funded health-care program within two years, eliminating the age 65 threshold for Medicare eligibility.
- It would not charge beneficiaries copays, premiums or deductibles.
- The plan would cover prescription drugs, vision, dental, mental health, substance abuse and maternal care. It would also provide universal coverage for long-term care for people with disabilities.
Jayapal has the following to say about Medicare for All: "Medicare for All is the solution our country needs. Long-term care, mental health services, women's reproductive health. All without co-pays or deductibles." (Common Dreams, 2-14-19)
In an analysis of Jayapal's legislation and the broader fight for Medicare for All in Splinter, single-payer proponent and health policy expert Tim Faust offered strong praise for the Medicare for All Act after reading an overview of the bill. Faust wrote that—while not perfect—Jayapal's bill "appears to meet all of the criteria for a proper single-payer plan."
As Faust mentions, the problem with American Health Care is not a problem with "care," it's a problem with "finance." Currently, it is extremely profitable to charge a sick person as much as possible, and it is not profitable to insure people who are sick, or are likely to become sick. This is the problem in general with a health care system run on the basis of profit. However, as Faust points out, if there is a federal single payer, as is the case in a "Medicare for All" plan, there is more power to leverage costs. (Splinter, 2-14-19)
Faust goes on to state that “Medicare for All” is a misnomer, and that a true single-payer plan would be a significant improvement and expansion of Medicare, which has all kinds of loopholes, exclusions, and out-of-pocket costs. (Splinter, 2-14-19)
So what does a health policy need to actually be successful, according to Faust?
- A single, mandatory risk pool.
- Comprehensive coverage
- Standards, payment, and oversight at the federal level.
- Local implementation and flexibility
Of several health care bill plans currently in development, Faust states that only Jayapal's bill includes all of these criteria.
WATCH VIDEOS OF CONGRESSWOMAN PRAMILA JAYAPAL RELEASING HER BILL
Make sure to turn up the volume. The volume of these videos was somewhat low.
SUMMARY OF MEDICARE FOR ALL ACT 2019
PRAMILA JAYAPAL AND DEBBIE DINGELL'S LETTER TO DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES LOOKING FOR COSPONSORS
CONGRESSWOMAN PRAMILA JAYAPAL
NEWS ON JAYAPAL'S 2019 MEDICARE FOR ALL BILL
Physicians Group Endorses the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (Common Dreams, 2-27-19)
More than 100 House Democrats to unveil ‘battle-ready’ Medicare-for-all plan as 2020 election looms (The Washington Post, 2-26-19)
Medicare-for-all: Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s new bill, explained (Vox, 2-26-19)
Jayapal Says Medicare for All Bill Coming in Two Weeks as Expert Calls Plan 'Astonishingly Strong' (Common Dreams, 2-14-19)
The Health 202: Jayapal to roll out sweeping Medicare-for-All bill by month's end (The Washington Post, 2-14-19)
The Only Guide to 'Medicare for All' That You Will Ever Need (Splinter News, 2-14-19)