Amid countless discussions of how to go about dismantling the Affordable Care Act, a group of more than 50 House Democrats introduced a Medicare-for-all bill late Tuesday.
The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act is the same as one introduced last session and has virtually no chance of passage with a Republican-controlled Congress and White House that are more interested in making Medicare a premium-support system.
The idea of a single-payer health system received attention during the Democratic presidential primary last year as a rallying cry for Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. His surprising staying power pushed Hillary Clinton more to the left on her healthcare proposals as they fought for the nomination.
Sanders continues to endorse the idea and says his plan would lead to lower per-capita health spending. An analysis by the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, however, found that his plan wouldn't raise even half of the money needed to pay for itself.
Dr. Carol Paris, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, praised the move and said in a statement that single-payer systems are the “fairest and most cost-effective way to assure that everyone gets high-quality care.”
“In addition to the enormous administrative savings from a single payer, such a program would also have the financial clout to negotiate with drug and medical equipment suppliers for lower prices,” she wrote. “And doctors would have more time to spend with their patients, instead of dealing with mountains of paperwork and haggling with insurers. The key step is removing the private health insurers from the picture.”