After the stunning collapse of Trumpcare, the Republican plan to “repeal and replace” the 2010 Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act — better known as “Obamacare” — momentum appears to be gathering among Democrats in congress for a national, single payer health care plan. In fact, the only single payer legislation currently under consideration in either the senate or the House of Representatives has already gathered 78 co-sponsors.
House bill H.R. 676, titled the “Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act,” was introduced in January by Michigan representative John Conyers (pictured above) who at 87-years-old has served in the House continuously since 1965. Conyers first introduced the bill in 2003 — and has re-introduced the single payer “Medicare For All” bill every two years since then, as each new congress starts its session.
Conyers bill is designed “to provide all individuals residing in the United States and U.S. territories with free health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care,” the text of the legislation says.
The Medicare For All Act never received more than 62 co-sponsors in its previous incarnations. But in slightly more than two months since Conyers put the bill forward for the latest time, that number has been upped by 16.
“There’s more of an appetite for an alternative now,” Northern California congressional rep Ro Khanna told Vox, a political site, this week.
“Democrats have a new confidence to push for a single-payer system. The momentum is building.”
Khanna, a newly elected congressional rep from California’s 17th district — which covers most of the Silicon Valley region — has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Conyers bill.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders made single payer health care a central plank of his platform in his presidential run in the Democratic primary race last year. But despite promises to do so, Sanders has yet to introduce single payer legislation in the Senate, and a single payer health care plan in his home state failed to gain support, mainly due to steep tax increases required to pay for the plan.
But Sanders said last week that he now plans to introduce a single payer health care bill in the Senate, that would likely be similar to the bill Conyers first authored 14 years ago.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has also added her voice to the Democratic push for single payer health care legislation, especially due to the Republicans’ determination to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“If we’re talking about tearing down the health care system and starting over, then I think every option needs to be on the table, and single payer sure ought to be at the top of the list,” Warren said on Monday.
Single payer health care, or “Medicare For All,” appears to have support from the American public, as well. A January poll by Pew Research showed that 60 percent of Americans believe that “the government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans,” while only 38 percent said that guaranteeing universal health care is not the government’s job.
According to the Pew poll, 52 percent of Republicans who earn under $30,000 per year say that guaranteeing health care for all is the government’s responsibility. But only 34 percent of GOP members who make between $30,000 and $75,000 favor a government-administered health care system, and a mere 18 percent of Republicans who earn more than $75,000 support the idea.
[Featured Image by Sarah Rice/Getty Images]