Two representatives from Colorado, Democrats Diana DeGette and Joe Neguse, have once again shown their support for extending Medicare coverage to all individuals in the United States. They are listed as co-sponsors of a House bill introduced on Wednesday, reaffirming their commitment to previous efforts.
DeGette emphasized the importance of declaring healthcare as a human right and fighting to make that vision a reality for the American people. The current legislation, introduced by Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell, has gained support from 112 House cosponsors. Bernie Sanders has also introduced companion legislation with 14 Senate cosponsors on board.
The proposed “Medicare for All” plan aims to extend Medicare, a single-payer healthcare program, to all individuals in the country. There will be coverage for primary care, eye care, dental care, prescription drugs, mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment, long-term care, reproductive healthcare, and the ability to negotiate prescription drug prices, according to the bill’s sponsors.
The bill also suggests universal coverage of long-term care for older Americans and those with disabilities, without any required cost-sharing. It aims to provide patients with the freedom to choose their preferred doctors, hospitals, and providers without concerns about network restrictions.
While numerous countries around the world offer national healthcare systems, the United States is not among them, except for all nations in the Group of 7. This year’s G-7 summit aims to address the achievement of more resilient, equitable, and sustainable universal health coverage.
One of the main challenges facing a single-payer healthcare system in the U.S. is the perceived cost, which has been a major obstacle for similar proposals at the state level. Insurers and care providers are encouraged to de-regulate under the Republican platform, which supports the private market approach. Meanwhile, public satisfaction with the U.S. healthcare system remains remarkably low, with less than half of Americans believing it is generally handled well.
Recent polls indicate an increasing number of Americans view healthcare coverage as a government responsibility, with support for a single-payer system rising. Approximately 4 in 10 Americans support a single-payer healthcare system that requires individuals to obtain insurance from a government plan, while a larger majority, 58%, favor a government health insurance plan that anyone can purchase.
The renewed effort for Medicare for All comes at a time when millions of individuals are at risk of losing Medicaid coverage with the conclusion of the federal public health emergency for COVID-19. States will now be required to reassess eligibility, potentially leading to a significant number of people losing their coverage. Public health coverage programs cover approximately 1.7 million Colorado residents, according to the state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.
As the discussions surrounding healthcare continue, the push for Medicare for All highlights the ongoing efforts to ensure accessible and comprehensive healthcare coverage for all Americans.