Feb. 27, 2019

Public Citizen Applauds Medicare-for-All Legislation

The People Demand a Reliable, Affordable Health Care System, and a Plan Has Arrived

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Medicare-for-All legislation introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives signals a growing national movement for guaranteed, universal health care, which is achievable and the right thing to do, Public Citizen said today.

U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019, groundbreaking legislation with more than 100 co-sponsors that would ensure that everyone in the U.S. has guaranteed access to the health care they need.

"We pay more, but we get less – much less. Among rich countries, we do the worst job of providing health care coverage. Every single day, roughly 100 Americans die from lack of health coverage," Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said at the bill introduction press conference. "The time for Medicare-for-All is now."

A recent Public Citizen report found that a Medicare-for-All system would reduce administrative costs by $500 billion per year and would cost patients less than employer-sponsored insurance. The proposal also would do away with out-of-pocket costs, such as co-pays and deductibles, provide for dental care and cover long-term care, including home health care. The legislation also would allow the government to bargain on behalf of the American people and would reduce the price of health care, including prescription drugs. 

"We can do all this at no additional cost compared to our current health care spending. That's because Medicare-for-All would do away with the staggering inefficiencies and administrative waste that plague our current system," said Weissman.

Another provision includes funding for employment and career transitions for individuals working in the private insurance industry who need help with job placement or career training.

"The only reason we don't have Medicare-for-All is the dominant political power of the health insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital industries. Big Pharma alone spends more on lobbying than any other industry, by far," Weissman said. "All of the money from the insurance industry, the drug corporations and the for-profit hospitals can't hold back the will of the people, if we are organized and mobilized."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced support for hearings on the legislation, which would be the first time a single-payer health care system will be taken seriously by House leadership. A Senate version of Medicare-for-All is expected to be reintroduced soon by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

A January 2019 Harvard/Politico poll found that 68 percent of all voters, including 70 percent of Independents, said providing health insurance coverage for everyone through a taxpayer-funded national plan is a high priority.