Sanders Unveils ‘Medicare For All’ Bill

Sanders Unveils ‘Medicare For All’ Bill
Sen. Bernie Sanders is proposing legislation that would let Americans get health coverage simply by showing a new government-issued card. And they’d no longer owe out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles. (Sept. 13)
AP

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 ReportBernie Sanders’s ‘Medicare for all’ bill needs to passClinton ‘dumbfounded’ by Comey letter days before electionMORE (I-Vt.) unveiled his single-payer health-care plan on Wednesday to cheers and a brief “Medicare for all” chant from supporters.

Nine Senate Democrats joined Sanders for the unveiling, with two possible presidential candidates, Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBernie Sanders flexes power on single-payerSchumer noncommittal on Sanders’s ‘Medicare for all’ bill Where Dems stand on Sanders’s single-payer billMORE (N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSchumer noncommittal on Sanders’s ‘Medicare for all’ bill Where Dems stand on Sanders’s single-payer billThe Hill’s 12:30 ReportMORE (N.Y.), getting into the camera shot.

“The American people want to know what we’re going to do to fix a dysfunctional health-care system, which costs us twice as much” per person as any other country, Sanders said at the opening of the press conference, casting aside speculation by the media about what the bill might mean politically for Democrats.

At the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fired at the Democratic proposal, calling it a “horrible” idea that would put government further in charge of Americans’ health care.She also belittled Sanders, saying that if his ideas were as popular as he thought, he would have won last year’s Democratic primary and been elected president.

Sanders has seen support for his proposal grow. In 2013, a similar bill garnered no co-sponsors. Sanders already has 16 fellow senators on his bill this time, though centrists and party leaders have shied away from direct endorsements.

The bill would expand Medicare into a national health insurance program, extending comprehensive health insurance to every U.S. resident. Many services would have no co-payments under the Sanders approach.

The program would be rolled out over a four-year period, with the eligibility age dropping every year until every U.S. resident is covered.

Those aged 18 and under would automatically be eligible in the first year.

The program, which would essentially separate health insurance from employment, would cover a full range of benefits, including inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse treatment and maternity care.

Sanders also released options to finance his single-player plan, which caught heat during his presidential bid for its high cost.

This includes a 7.5 percent income-based premium to be paid by employers, a 4 percent income-based premium to be paid by households, changes to the estate tax and a new tax on the top 0.1 percent of Americans based on income.

Already, about 30 national liberal organizations and unions have endorsed the bill, including MoveOn.org, Food and Water Watch and National Nurses United.

The trade group for insurance companies immediately announced its opposition.

The plan was announced the same day Sens. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyGOP senators make last-ditch bid to repeal ObamaCareOvernight Health Care: Dem leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer bill | Last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort struggles for votes | Dems press Trump on ObamaCare outreach fundsMcConnell on last ditch ObamaCare repeal: Find the votesMORE (R-La.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators make last-ditch bid to repeal ObamaCareOvernight Health Care: Dem leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer bill | Last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort struggles for votes | Dems press Trump on ObamaCare outreach fundsGutiérrez defends attacks on Kelly, calls top Trump aide ‘mean’MORE (R-S.C.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerGOP senators make last-ditch bid to repeal ObamaCareGOP braces for Bannon primary attacksOvernight Health Care: Dem leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer bill | Last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort struggles for votes | Dems press Trump on ObamaCare outreach fundsMORE (R-Nev.) unveiled their plan to repeal ObamaCare in a last-ditch effort to gut former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill’s 12:30 ReportObama to host global summit in ChicagoClinton ‘dumbfounded’ by Comey letter days before electionMORE’s signature legislation. Many view it as unlikely to pass, and the GOP only has until the end of the month to repeal ObamaCare and avoid a Democratic filibuster.

The Sanders plan has no real chance of becoming law with a Republican-controlled Congress and White House but is likely to be a touchstone in the years to come.