‘Everybody In, Nobody Out’: What We Know So Far About the Medicare for All Act of 2019

With H.R. 676 no longer and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wa.) to soon unveil a revised single-payer bill, here’s our informed perspective on why the new version is shaping up to be a much stronger and more detailed piece of legislation.

by Benjamin Day, Health Care Now, and Mark Dudzic, Labor Campaign for Single Payer
Common Dreams, Feb. 7, 2019

Here are some key quotes from the article:

“Understandably, the transition to a new lead sponsor and an extensive rewrite process has created some nervousness and confusion in sections of the single-payer advocacy community.”

“The new bill not only will be much more detailed, it will also add additional benefits and correct some major shortcomings in both HR 676 and the Senate Bill (S 1804).”

“The new bill—which will be filed as the Medicare for All Act of 2019—is more than 120 pages long and tries to flesh out the elements of a Medicare for All system in a comprehensive fashion.”

“We are assured that the new bill will follow Senator Sanders’ Medicare for All Act and shelter the new national health plan from the Hyde Amendment, ensuring women’s access to the full range of reproductive health services.

“The new House bill’s Long Term Care plan is being written after extensive consultation with disability advocacy and senior citizen communities, and incorporates their insights in developing comprehensive coverage that fosters independence and community-based care.”

The article describes a collaborative drafting process led by Rep. Jayapal, and a number of features of the legislation, including:

  • No Financial Barriers to Care
  • A single Standard for Care for All
  • National and Regional Budgeting
  • Protect Workers and Healthcare Professionals
  • Transition Period
  • What About Investor-Owned Facilities?
  • Negotiating Lower Prescription Drug Costs
  • Maintaining Our Commitment to Native American and Veterans’ Healthcare

In conclusion, Day and Dudzic state:

“We are entering into the fight of our lives. Support for Medicare for All has never been stronger and Congress, for the first time in modern history, has been compelled to hold hearings on what an effective Medicare for All bill should look like. As our momentum grows, we will be facing the concentrated power of the Medical Industrial Complex whose tentacles reach into almost one fifth of the U.S. economy. In addition, we will be confronted with a Democratic establishment intent on diluting and undermining our vision in ways that will be very confusing to the American people and will peel off substantial institutional support from labor and other social movement organizations. We will need all hands on deck to fight this two-front war.

“As we move from an aspirational phase into dealing with the nuts and bolts of implementing a concrete piece of legislation, the greater the potential will be for tensions within our movement to grow and to be used strategically against us. We are looking forward to the next phase of scaling up our organizing, as well as paying particular attention to building unity within the movement as we do so.

“Onwards to Medicare for All!”

See full article here.