Universal Healthcare Advocates Renew Push Toward Medicare-For-All

Single-payer advocates are celebrating the reintroduction of the so-called ‘Medicare-for-All’ bill that would replace the nation’s byzantine healthcare system, dominated by private health insurance companies, with a single, streamlined public agency that would pay all medical claims for the entire population, much like Medicare does for seniors today.

Lead sponsor Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich) put forth the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act” (H.R. 676) on Tuesday evening, along with 44 other House members. The legislation would create a publicly financed, privately delivered health care system that expands the already existing Medicare program to all U.S. residents and all residents living in U.S. territories. The bill has been defeated in three previous House sessions.

Proponents say the approach would vastly simplify how the nation pays for care, improve patient health, restore free choice of physician, eliminate co-pays and deductibles, and yield substantial savings for individuals, families, and the national economy.

At his website, Conyers says: “I believe that a single-payer, universal healthcare system is the only way we can truly reshape our broken healthcare system.”

Dr. Robert Zarr, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, a non-profit research and educational group of 19,000 doctors nationwide that supports Conyers’s bill, echoed that claim.

“The global evidence is very clear: single-payer financing systems are the most equitable and cost-effective way to assure that everyone, without exception, gets high-quality care,” Zarr said. “Medicare is a good model to build on, and what better way to observe Medicare’s 50th anniversary year than to improve and extend the program and its benefits to people of all ages?”