Washington: On the U.S. Capitol grounds Wednesday, House Democrats unveiled legislation for a long-promised universal healthcare plan, commonly called Medicare for All.
The plan counts more than 100 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives among its backers. It had not yet been entered into the Congressional Record by early Wednesday afternoon, but CNN reported the legislation would provide for one government insurance plan that all Americans could use.
At a news conference, the bill’s lead sponsor, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said the legislation would eliminate co-payments, premiums and deductibles for patients while also providing universal comprehensive coverage with controlled costs.
The average U.S. family would see a roughly 14 percent reduction in costs, Jayapal said, adding that that a family also would see “better and comprehensive care.”
However the bill does not detail how much the overhaul would cost. It said analysts believe it could cost tens of trillions of dollars over 10 years. It also might reduce payments to hospitals and doctors.
At the news conference, Jayapal had tough words for the current U.S. healthcare system, saying costs keep people in the United States from seeking the treatment they need. “Every day, too many Americans are sick and dying because they cant afford insulin or cancer treatments,” Jayapal said.
She said the current system “puts profits over patients,” and criticized pharmaceutical and insurance companies including Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealth Group.
In addition to high costs, Jayapal pointed to U.S. healthcare statistics, specifically the country’s maternal and infant mortality rates, that she said are sub-par.
“We have some of the worst outcomes in the world,” she said.
The legislation is not the first bill of its kind introduced in Congress. In September 2017, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a similar bill dubbed Medicare for All that would have sparked a single-payer healthcare system.