Citing Rising Health Care Costs & Other Systemic Problems With For Profit Health Care As Reason To Move Forward With Non-Profit, Publicly-Financed Health Care
Washington DC- Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), a long-time national leader for non-profit publicly-financed universal health care, today introduced H.R. 676, “The Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act.” The single-payer universal health care bill, which has been introduced since 2003, has 25 original cosponsors, and has sparked a growing national movement in support of the bill. The bill had 85 cosponsors in the 111th Congress, and has the support of over 17,000 doctors, nurses, organized labor, and many activists across the country.
“I am so pleased to announce that we have reintroduced H.R. 676, ‘The Improved and Expanded Medicare For All Act’ in the 112th Congress with 25 original cosponsors,” said Conyers. “The bill is almost identical to the single payer universal health care bill we introduced in the 111th Congress, but we have expanded the benefits package to include coverage of medically necessary oral surgery, nutritional, and dietary health care services, said Conyers.
“President Obama and the Democratic Congress passed historic health reform last year. To his credit, President Obama stated in his 2011 State of the Union Address that he is open to making changes to the law, so that it can be improved and strengthened. This presents a unique opportunity for supporters of improved Medicare For All to come together and work in a constructive way towards transitioning our for-profit and costly health care system to a high-quality, simple, and cost-effective improved Medicare For All program.
“Millions of Americans are frustrated with rising health care costs, and have a deep mistrust of private health insurance companies. The for-profit medicine model has resulted in rationed care and created undue stress and financial hardships for millions of Americans across the nation. Americans are smart—they know improved Medicare For all works in other countries. They also know that our own Medicare program, although not perfect, is a proven and efficient method for providing health care to America’s seniors.
“Perhaps this is why states like Vermont and California are very serious about transitioning towards publicly-financed universal health care programs. The Vermont State Legislature, with the full backing of Governor Peter Shumlin, will most likely pass the nation’s first ever state-based publicly-financed single-payer program sometime this year. This is a very exciting development for the universal health care movement, because success in Vermont could pave the way for the creation of improved Medicare For All programs in other states, and ultimately provide for the passage of H.R. 676.
“Improved and Expanded Medicare For All is inevitable in America– it is just a matter of when it will happen. Single-payer health care systems have successfully contained health care costs and provided high quality health care in countries in Europe, Taiwan, Japan, and Canada. We can no longer continue to embrace the idea that private insurance companies and corporate-owned hospitals and clinics will bring down the costs of health care on their own.
“It is time for Congress, other elected officials, the medical community, health care policy experts, and the national media to begin to seriously examine how a Medicare For All program in America could contain growing health care costs, and provide quality and affordable health care for all. Our current health care system is simply not financially sustainable over the long run. The time has come for deep systemic change in our health care system, and a large dose of common sense.”