Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) reintroduced H.R. 676, "The Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act." This bill would establish a privately-delivered, publicly-financed universal health care system, where physicians and non-profit health care providers would be in charge of medical decisions -- not insurance companies. H.R. 676 would expand and improve the highly popular Medicare program and provide universal access to care to all Americans. The program would be primarily funded by a modest payroll tax on employers and employees, a financial transaction tax, and higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
H.R.676 has been introduced in Congress since 2003, and has a broad base of support among universal health care activists, organized labor, physicians, nurses, and social justice organizations across the nation. The bill has been endorsed by 20 international unions, Physicians For A National Health Program, two former editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, National Nurses United, the American Medical Students Association, Progressive Democrats of America, and the NAACP. Last Congress, 77 other Members in the House of Representatives signed on as cosponsors of the legislation. In 2011, the Vermont legislature passed legislation that lays the foundation for a single-payer health care system in the state.
Representative Conyers issued this statement following the release of the bill:
"I am pleased to announce the reintroduction of H.R. 676, "The Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act,' in the 113th Congress. I have introduced the bill in each Congress since 2003 and I will continue to do so until the bill is passed," said Conyers.
"Many Americans are frustrated with high out-of-pocket costs, skyrocketing premiums, and many other serious problems that are part and parcel of a health care system dependent on private health insurance plans. H.R. 676 would reform this broken system.
"Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was an important initial reform, which will provide health insurance to millions of our nation's uninsured and eliminate many of the worst practices of the private health insurance industry.
"However, it is my opinion, and the belief of many leading health care practitioners and experts, that establishing a non-profit universal single-payer health care system would be the best way to effectively contain health care costs and provide quality care for all Americans. It is time for Members of Congress, health policy scholars, economists, and the medical community to begin a serious discussion of the merits of a universal single-payer health care system."