Reps. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) proposed a constitutional amendment to establish healthcare as a basic right.
The amendment -- "All persons shall enjoy the right to healthcare of equal high quality" -- must pass the House and Senate by a two-thirds majority. It would then require ratification by three-fourths of the states, and Congress would have to pass implementing legislation.
Twenty-seven other House members co-sponsored the amendment legislation, Stark said in a news release. Stark said a constitutional guarantee to healthcare was necessary because of reductions in company-sponsored health benefits and proposed cuts to the federal Medicaid budget.