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Medicare for All: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) Photo: Rep. Pramila Jayapal/Twitter
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) Photo: Rep. Pramila Jayapal/Twitter

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) will be introducing a new and improved Medicare for All Act 2019 in a couple of weeks.

National Nurses United is sponsoring a campaign to support the bill and have set up a phone line facilitate your ability to urge your representatives to co-sponsor Jayapal’s Medicare for All Act 2019.

Call 202-858-1717 and tell your representatives you support expanded and improved Medicare for All. An automated system route you to your representatives through your zip code.  If your representative is already a co-sponsor of the bill, you will be routed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office to ask her to support the bill.

The line was busy when we called, but that’s not going to stop us. Redial!

Last year the Medicare for All Congressional Caucus was by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-05), Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12), to help build the evidence base for Medicare for All. It will sponsor briefings on topics ranging from the basics of Medicare for All to financing to universal health care systems around the world as well as to gain a practical understanding of how a Medicare for All system would work. According to Jayapal’s web site:

Health economics researchers have estimated that by simplifying our health care system from a multi-payer to a single-payer system would save $350 billion annually.

Health care must be affordable and accessible to everyone in the United States. One of the best ways to ensure health care for all is to use the system that already exists for millions of seniors over the last half century: Medicare.

No one should be one health care crisis from bankruptcy. No one should be worried about obtaining life saving medicine due to cost or access. This caucus is committed to making sure that every American across the country has quality, affordable health care. The path forward is through Medicare for All.

A health care system like Medicare for All promises to save billions through efficiencies. Health economics researchers have estimated that by simplifying our health care system from a multi-payer to a single-payer system would save $350 billion annually. A recent study showed that we are paying $200 billion for medical tests we don’t need.

As long as there’s a financial incentive providers and insurers will be tempted to waste money on unnecessary tests and drugs all in the name of care.  One of the biggest cost drivers of our out of control health care costs is prescription drugs. Under a Medicare for All type health care system, one entity would be able to negotiate deep discounts just like the VA already does.

It’s past time for Congress to enact legislation ensuring a Medicare for All type system for all residents of the United States.  The American people have long been with us. A Commonwealth Fund ACA Tracking Survey found last year that 92 percent of working-age adults think that all Americans should have the right to affordable health care.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 59% of Americans support a “national Medicare for All plan.” And a recent poll conducted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus underscored the fact that ideas that we call “progressive” are really supported by the majority of Americans.

Lower health care costs, the ability to negotiate prescription drug prices and removing pre-existing conditions to ensure that everyone has access to health care are ideas that Americans broadly support, and we, as members of Congress, should be delivering.

Members as of 11/28/18: (78)

  1. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) [Co-chair]
  2. Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12) [Co-chair]
  3. Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37)
  4. Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-03)
  5. Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08)
  6. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
  7. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
  8. Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02)
  9. Rep. Anthony Brown (MD-04)
  10. Rep. Michael E. Capuano (MA-07)
  11. Rep. Andre Carson (IN-07)
  12. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14)
  13. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27)
  14. Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01)
  15. Rep. Katherine M. Clark (MA-05)
  16. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09)
  17. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01)
  18. Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09)
  19. Rep. Danny Davis (IL-07)
  20. Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04)
  21. Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44)
  22. Rep. Mike Doyle (PA-14)
  23. Rep. Eliot L. Engel (NY-16)
  24. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13)
  25. Rep. Dwight Evans (PA-03)
  26. Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-21)
  27. Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
  28. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
  29. Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07)
  30. Rep. John Garamendi (CA-03)
  31. Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34)
  32. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15)
  33. Rep. Al Green (TX-09)
  34. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03)
  35. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20)
  36. Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-26)
  37. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-DC)
  38. Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02) “
  39. Rep. Henry C. “”Hank”” Johnson (GA-04)”
  40. Rep. Robin L. Kelly (IL-02)
  41. Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17)
  42. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14)
  43. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13)
  44. Rep. John Lewis (GA-05)
  45. Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33)
  46. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
  47. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)
  48. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12)
  49. Rep. James (Jim) McGovern (MA-02)
  50. Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
  51. Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06)
  52. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10)
  53. Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-32)
  54. Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20)
  55. Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
  56. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02)
  57. Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
  58. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)
  59. Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13)
  60. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) “
  61. Rep. Robert “”Bobby”” Scott (VA-03)”
  62. Rep. Jose Serrano (NY-15)
  63. Rep. Albio Sires (NJ-08)
  64. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09)
  65. Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09)
  66. Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41)
  67. Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01)
  68. Rep. Paul D. Tonko (NY-20)
  69. Rep. Marc A. Veasey (TX-33)
  70. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07)
  71. Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43)
  72. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
  73. Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL)
  74. Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24)
  75. Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-03)
  76. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)
  77. Rep. Andy Levin (MI-09)
  78. Rep. Joe Neguse (CO-02)
  79. Rep. Pete Visclosky (IN-01)