WASHINGTON – On February 3, 2015, Congressman John Conyers (MI-13), joined by 44 Democratic Members of Congress reintroduced H.R. 676, “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.” The bill, which has been introduced in every Congress since 2003, would have the United States join the rest of the industrialized world in adopting a single-payer model for healthcare financing.
Under H.R. 676, every resident of the United States would receive a card at birth that would guarantee access to a full range of medically-necessary services that include primary care, dental, prescription drugs, mental health and long term care. The bill places no restrictions on choice of physician or health care provider.
|Dean of the U.S. House|
John Conyers, Jr.
“While Obamacare has been a step in the right direction, people across the country understand that a single-payer healthcare system is the only way to guarantee quality care and sustainably cut costs,” Rep. Conyers said. “While I continue to be a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, which has brought health insurance to 19 million Americans, I remain deeply concerned for the nearly 13 percent of U.S. adults that still lack coverage. H.R. 676 would also eliminate the out-of-pocket medical expenses that lead many to forgo needed treatment, prolonging illness and resulting in increased financial costs when the condition is eventually treated.”
The reintroduction of H.R. 676 comes after a new poll found that more than half of Americans—including 80 percent of Democrats and a quarter of Republicans—support expanding health reform to “Medicare for All.” The reintroduction also came on the same day as House Republicans voted for the 56th time to undermine or repeal the Affordable Care Act.
A recent study demonstrated that 21 percent of Americans spent 5 percent or more of their income on out-of-pocket costs and 13 percent of Americans spent 10 percent or more.
“While the Affordable Care Act has made great strides in addressing these issues, it is time we leave the burdensome multi-payer healthcare model behind and join the rest of the industrialized world,” Conyers added.
The United States currently spends almost twice as much per person on healthcare as any other country, but key outcomes—life expectancy, infant mortality and preventable deaths—lag behind other nations. A recent Commonwealth Fund study ranked the US healthcare system last among 11 highly-developed countries on measures of quality, efficiency and access. Another recent study found that billing and insurance-related administrative expenses cost the American people $471 billion in 2012. At least 80 percent of that extraordinary cost was, according to the study, due to inefficiencies in our for-profit multi-payer healthcare system.
H.R. 676 has the support of 26 international unions, Physicians For A National Health Program, two former editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, National Nurses United, the American Medical Students Association, Progressive Democrats of America, and the NAACP.
Original Congressional co-sponsors of the measure included Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Michael Doyle (D-PA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA), Al Green (D-TX), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Mike Honda (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Robert Scott (D-VA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Eliot Engel (D-NY), José E. Serrano (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), James E. Clyburn (D-SC), Robert Brady (D-PA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), and Karen Bass (D-CA).