We Need A Senate Version Of Improved Medicare For All
The healthcare debate is expected to go on for a while as the American Health Care Act (AHCA) goes through the process in Congress and Democrats introduce attempts to patch up the failing Affordable Care Act (ACA). Both the AHCA and the ACA treat health care as a commodity rather than a public service. Health care is treated as a public service in all other industrialized nations and it was also treated that way in the United States before the passage of the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973, which permitted entities to profit from health care.
It’s time to fight for a solution to the ongoing healthcare crisis in the United States. We are spending twice as much per person each year on health care than most other industrialized nations, enough to provide comprehensive high quality health care to everyone. We could have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but first we have to create a National Improved Medicare for All single payer healthcare system.
HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act has 112 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, a record number since it was first introduced in 2003. HR 676 is a gold standard framework for a national health insurance. A Senate version of the bill is needed in order to put us in a strong position to achieve a high quality healthcare system.
Although Senator Sanders campaigned heavily on Medicare for All, he back-tracked last fall after the election and said that he would not introduce a single payer bill. Activists urged him to change his mind and Senator Sanders did agree to introduce a Medicare for All bill, but it falls short of HR 676 in critical areas (as outlined in the letter below).
Members of the Health Over Profit for Everyone steering committee sent the letter below to Senator Sanders last week urging him to introduce a Senate companion bill to HR 676 soon.
If you agree, please sign the petition, which will send an email to his staff, and share this letter widely.
We are writing you as long-time supporters of expanding and improving Medicare to ensure that every person in the United States has excellent healthcare coverage from cradle to grave.
The current backlash against the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is an opportunity to build support for National Improved Medicare for All. Millions of people are facing the loss of health insurance at a time when people in the United States have the expectation that everyone should be covered.
As the Senate considers a “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act for months or even the remainder of the year, it is important that National Improved Medicare for all be part of the dialogue.
We are writing to urge you to introduce a Senate bill to make improved Medicare available to everyone so people can see that there is a positive alternative to whatever the Republicans are debating. There is no more important and timely moment to introduce your single-payer bill, than now.
And we urge you to make it the strongest bill possible – one that is implemented rapidly (within two years of passage) and is consistent with the standards set forth in HR 676. Critical elements are that everyone is included, that it is a single system with non-duplication, coverage is comprehensive, out-of-pocket costs are eliminated and investor-owned entities are phased out.
In order to build the urgently needed movement for improved Medicare for all we must move aggressively and not be delayed by a debate over the counterproductive Republican plan or the fatally flawed ACA.
Every year this law is delayed has adverse impacts on hundreds of thousands of people. We need to move quickly.
Please do not delay introduction of your expanded and improved Medicare for all bill while the Senate debates which inadequate market-based healthcare bill should be law. The answer to that debate is neither – market-based healthcare should be replaced with healthcare as a public good, a National Improved Medicare for All.
The Health Over Profit for Everyone steering committee