'Another Victory for #MedicareForAll!' Says Jayapal as Fourth House Hearing on Proposal Is Announced

Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Tuesday cheered what she called “Another victory for Medicare For All” after the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced a hearing next week on healthcare coverage that will include her proposal for a single-payer system.

The health subcommittee’s hearing, entitled “Proposals to Achieve Universal Health Care Coverage,” will take place Tuesday.

Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, called the upcoming hearing—which will be the fourth House hearing to address Medicare for All—a sign of the swelling momentum for the desire to switch from the current for-profit system to one which provides universal access to everyone in the country.

In addition to considering Jayapal’s H.R.1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019, the subcommittee hearing will address six other pieces of proposed healthcare legislation which would not guarantee a single national health insurance program to cover everyone. Those proposals include H.R. 2463, the Choose Medicare Act, introduced by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La), and H.R. 2000, the Medicare-X Choice Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.).

The number of co-sponsors on Jayapal’s Medicare for All legislation—118—dwarfs the number of co-sponsors on any of the others that will be discussed during Tuesday’s hearing. Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s (D-N.M.) H.R. 1277, the “State Public Option Act,” has the second highest number at 51. Rep. Richmond’s “Choose Medicare Act” has a mere five co-sponsors.

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When Japayal’s legislation got its 118th co-sponsor in August, meaning it’s supported by a majority of the House Democratic caucus, activist and Bernie Sanders supporter Shaun King called the development “a huge deal.”

Medicare for All is also supported by three-quarters of Democratic voters and two senators vying for the 2020 Democratic ticket: Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), however, declared last month that she is “not a big fan of Medicare for All,” and two other Democratic White House hopefuls—former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—have attacked the proposal.

Jayapal has criticized her own party for parroting industry and GOP talking points to dismiss Medicare for All, and the proposal is already facing and an industry “army” intent on killing it.

Speaking to the press last month, the Washington Democrat framed Medicare for All as not only the right approach from a humane perspective but also just good economics.

“We spend 18% of our GDP each year on healthcare—almost double per person compared to most other nations—and our costs are only increasing. This makes Medicare for All not only a human and a moral imperative, but also an economic imperative,” said Jayapal.

“Our current health system, designed to line the pockets of for-profit companies, is a massive anchor that drags down our economy. Medicare for All, on the other hand, would actually guarantee comprehensive coverage for everyone and bring down overall health expenditures,” she continued, “saving American families money and allowing businesses to compete and thrive in the global economy.”

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