Congresswoman Lee Renews Support for Medicare for All
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12), member of the House Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, today joined her colleagues at the reintroduction of the Medicare for All Act of 2023, introduced by U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Debbie Dingell (MI-06) and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Along with Congresswoman Lee, the House legislation is cosponsored by more than half of the Democratic Caucus and 13 powerful committee ranking members.
“Patients should not have to fight insurance companies alongside their illnesses,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Americans should not berationing prescription medication and further compromising their health. In the richest country in the world, failing to guarantee health care is simply unacceptable. Health care is a human right, and it’s far past time that federal law protected it. I’m proud to join Rep. Jayapal, Rep. Dingell, Senator Sanders, and my Progressive Caucus colleagues in re-introducing Medicare For All. It’s more than a bill—it’s a movement. And we won’t stop until it’s a reality.”
“We live in a country where millions of people ration lifesaving medication or skip necessary trips to the doctor because of cost,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “Sadly, the number of people struggling to afford care continues to skyrocket as millions of people lose their current health insurance as pandemic-era programs end. Breaking a bone or getting sick shouldn’t be a reason that people in the richest country in the world go broke. There is a solution to this health crisis — a popular one that guarantees health care to every person as a human right and finally puts people over profits and care over corporations. That solution is Medicare for All — everyone in, nobody out. I’m so proud to fight for this legislation to finally ensure that all people can get the care they need and the care they deserve.”
“Every American has the right to health care, period. If you’re sick, you should be able to go to the doctor without being worried about the cost of treatment or prescription medicine. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee all its citizens access to health care,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t create the flaws in our health care system, but it brought to light many of the shortcomings that have caused unnecessary and preventable hardship for countless American families for decades. We’ve been fighting this fight since the 1940s, when my father-in-law helped author the first universal health care bill. It’s time to get this done.”
“The American people understand, as I do, that health care is a human right, not a privilege,” said Sanders, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. “It is not acceptable to me, nor to the American people, that over 85 million people today are either uninsured or underinsured. As we speak, there are millions of people who would like to go to a doctor but cannot afford to do so. That is an outrage. In America, your health and your longevity should not be dependent on your bank account or your stock portfolio. After all the lives that we lost to this terrible pandemic, it is clearer now, perhaps more than it has ever been before that we must act to end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth to not guarantee health care to all.”
The Medicare for All Act builds upon and expands Medicare to provide comprehensive benefits to every person in the United States. This includes primary care, vision, dental, prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse, long-term services and supports, reproductive health care, and more. The Medicare for All Act of 2023 also includes universal coverage of long-term care with no cost-sharing for older Americans and individuals with disabilities, and prioritizes home and community-based care over institutional care. Additionally, patients have the freedom to choose the doctors, hospitals, and other providers they wish to see without worrying about whether a provider is in-network. Importantly, the legislation streamlines the health care system to negotiate drug prices and reduce exorbitant administrative waste.
This legislation is urgent at a moment where 85 million people in America are either uninsured or underinsured, so even though they have health insurance they cannot get health care due to high costs. In addition, as pandemic-era programs have ended, an additional 15 million will lose health insurance this year.
“Over the last few years, we have asked our members around the country to fill out a healthcare cost calculator to figure out how much they are already paying for healthcare,” said Carl Rosen, General President, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE). “Not surprisingly, it turns out that a large majority of them are spending at least 15 to 25 percent of their income on healthcare costs, between premium shares, co-pays and deductibles. Medicare for All, under virtually any scenario, would save these members large sums of money. Furthermore, taking health care off of the bargaining table will allow all of our members to make much-needed improvements in wages and working conditions, and to catch up with the inflation that has seen the cost of basic necessities skyrocket over the past year.”
“Everyone should have health care when they need it. Sadly, our health care system allows greedy private health insurance companies to put profits over people,” said Sulma Arias, Director, People’s Action. “These companies waste billions on executive pay while denying their members the care they need. We applaud Congresswomen Jayapal and Dingell and Senator Sanders for rejecting the corporate takeover of our health system and offering a vision in which health care is a human right. We won’t stop organizing until we turn it into a reality.”
“The United States spends far more on health care than other rich countries, but has the worst health care outcomes. We also rank last on access to care, administrative efficiency and equity,” said Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen. “The winners in this abominable system are health insurers, Big Pharma, hospital chains and private equity firms in the health care racket. Everyone else is a loser. It’s time for Americans to stop being treated like suckers. It’s time to make health care a right. It’s time for Medicare for All.”
“Registered nurses care for people in their most difficult hours, when they are sick, injured, and dying,” said Deborah Burger, RN and President of National Nurses United. “Every nurse can tell you countless stories of patients who didn’t get the care they needed because they didn’t have insurance, they couldn’t afford the costs of their copays or deductibles, or because of insurance company denials. The current health system prioritizes profits instead of patient care, and that needs to change. National Nurses United is proud to support the Medicare for All Act of 2023, because nurses know that Medicare for All is the only way to guarantee health care to every person living in the United States.”
“Three years of navigating a global pandemic have made it clear that our healthcare system is not equipped to protect our most vulnerable communities,” said Vinay Krishnan, National Field Organizer, Center for Popular Democracy. “Day after day, we see people making impossible choices between paying for healthcare and paying for food, housing, and other necessities—all amidst an ongoing COVID crisis. Our affiliates from across the country have traveled to Washington, DC today to make it clear that healthcare is a human right. We’re here to demand true justice in healthcare. We’re here to demand Medicare for All.”
The Medicare for All Act of 2023 is sponsored by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Alma Adams (NC-12), Becca Balint (VT-AL), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Shontel Brown (OH-11), Cori Bush (MO-01), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), André Carson (IN-07), Troy Carter (LA-02), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Greg Casar (TX-35), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Judy Chu (CA-28), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-5), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Danny K. Davis (IL-17), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Chris Deluzio (PA-17), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Maxwell Frost (FL-10), John Garamendi (CA-08), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Dan Goldman (NY-10), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Josh Harder (CA-09), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Val Hoyle (OR-04), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Glenn Ivey (MD-04), Jonathan Jackson (IL-01), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), William R. Keating (MA-09), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Summer Lee (PA-12), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-3), Mike Levin (CA-49), Ted W. Lieu (CA-36), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Morgan McGarvey (KY-3), James P. McGovern (MA-2), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Grace Meng (NY-06), Kweisi Mfume (MD-7), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-31), Joe Neguse (CO-2), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Katie Porter (CA-47), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Gregorio Kilili Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands-AL), Andrea Salinas (OR-6), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam B. Schiff (CA-30), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Brad Sherman (CA-32), Adam Smith (WA-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-1), Eric Swalwell (CA-14), Mark Takano (CA-41), Shri Thanedar (MI-13), Mike Thompson (CA-04), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-20), Dina Titus (NV-01), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Jill Tokuda (HI-2), Paul D. Tonko (NY-20), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Juan Vargas (CA-52), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Susan Wild (PA-07), Nikema Williams (GA-05), and Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24).
The groups endorsing this legislation can be found here.
The full text of the legislation can be found here.