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Medicare for All Legislation Introduced to Address Poor U.S. Health Outcomes, Inequities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2023, which would ensure universal health care without copays, deductibles or high out-of-pocket costs. In response, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“The United States spends far more on health care than other rich countries, but has the worst health care outcomes. We rank last on access to care, administrative efficiency and equity. We have higher infant mortality and lower life expectancy than other rich countries. Tens of thousands of people die every year from lack of insurance. Medical debt contributes to hundreds of thousands of bankruptcies every year. Nearly one in three Americans ration their prescription drugs because of cost. This is a failing system.

“The failing U.S. health care system drives massive health disparities by income, race and geography. Richer people live years longer. Black people are almost twice as likely to be uninsured as their white counterparts; Latinos are almost three times as likely to be uninsured. Hospitals predominantly serving Black and Latino communities have vastly less capital for equipment purchases and offer fewer high-tech services. Black maternal mortality is three times higher than the rate for white people who give birth. We have a health care system that exacerbates rather than reduces racial and income inequity.

“Yet while all patients lose out from this abominable system, there are winners: health insurers, Big Pharma, hospital chains and private equity firms in the health care racket. These corporations are generating staggering profits – at our expense.

“It’s time for Americans to stop being treated like suckers. It’s time to make health care a right. It’s time for Medicare for All.

“A system of expanded and improved Medicare for All would reduce our spending on health care while providing universal access, better outcomes and more equity.

“With Medicare for All, health care decisions would be made by patients and doctors — not for-profit insurance companies thinking about their bottom lines. There would never be another medical bankruptcy. Having decent coverage would not depend on where a person works or whether they are employed or married. Patients could take their prescriptions on schedule, without worrying about price.

“A growing grassroots movement is demanding universal health care, evidenced in more than 100 resolutions from cities and towns across the country calling for Medicare for All – and growing support in Congress, led by our champions Sen. Bernie Sanders and Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell. This is a movement that is well aware of the political power of the corporations defending the failed current system. But it is also a movement that understands that, when we build enough power, We the People prevail over narrow corporate interests. It’s a movement on the right side of history, and it’s a movement that is going to prevail.”