Sanders to introduce universal health insurance bill backed by 15 senators

Kristopher Drake
September 14, 2017

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It is altogether remarkable that Bernie Sanders on Wednesday morning introduced a "Medicare For All" healthcare reform plan, and that he did so with the public support of a brigade of prominent Democratic senators from Joe Manchin of West Virginia to Kamala Harris of California, as well as with the public support of every Democratic politician with even an outside chance of running for president in 2020. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen.

"It seems that this complete government takeover of healthcare is becoming the litmus test for the liberal left", said Senator John Barrasso, (R-Wyoming) told the Washington Times. He suggests his state, California, and Washington could start their own single-payer system.

"Health care is a right, not a privilege, and no American should be unable to receive the treatment that they need", Leahy said.

The bill would revolutionize America's health-care system, replacing it with a public system that would be paid for by higher taxes. Most services, such as emergency care and prescription drugs, would be covered.

The bill calls for the elimination of premiums for private health insurance, deductibles and co-pays.

The health care issue is now too popular to avoid on the left.

"This is an especially gratifying moment for the tens of thousands of nurses across the U.S. who have dedicated years of effort to transform our health care system from an profiteering industry based on greed and suffering to patient need and healing", National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said in a statement.

"Health care for all is not only a moral issue, it is an economic issue", Sanders said.

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"The way we would want to gauge the effect and the effectiveness of laws would be not just how much we're spending on different stakeholders in the system, not just how much we're spending on hospitals, but then how much health we're getting out of the system", said Katherine Baicker, dean of the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy.

Thirdly, why are we paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, so that one out of five Americans under 64 can not afford the medicine that they need? "That's the basic problem lawmakers face every time they get into this question of who should we cover and how much should we cover".

"Are we wasting an enormous amount of money in the current system?" Former VP nominee Tim Kaine said he would rather see "more choices, not fewer" in the insurance industry. The insurance companies, the drug companies and Wall Street will undoubtedly devote a lot of money to lobbying, campaign contributions and television ads to defeat this proposal.

"AHF salutes Senator Sanders for his steadfast leadership in making sure the patients we care for are guaranteed the quality health care they deserve".

At least one good thing came out of that painful and prolonged national health care debate: a growing consensus among Americans that not only do they want the government involved in health care - they want the government more involved, not less.

[Y] es, your taxes are going up. The Republicans are still tripping along trying to make their own health care plan, and it's important to understand all alternative options. That's what our pledge is. And as private insurance premiums continue to rise at double-digit rates each year, so do the costs of the ACA premium-assistance tax credits and subsidies for income-eligible consumers in the exchanges.

McConnell said the Alexander-Murray talks "are underway and we'll see where they go".

Ultimately, as Sanders points out at the conclusion of the interview, "the American people [are] moving in our direction". On the contrary, Sanders knows the struggle ahead-a struggle he hopes most Americans will take part in. Grass-roots activist organizations such as Our Revolution, National Nurses United, Working Families party and People's Action, among others, also deserve a great deal of credit for sustaining the movement energy across the country and applying consistent pressure on Democratic leaders. "Right now, if we want to move away from a dysfunctional, wasteful, bureaucratic system into a rational health-care system that guarantees coverage to everyone in a cost-effective way, the only way to do it is Medicare for All".

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