‘Medicare for All’ — who’s in and who’s out in the Illinois Democratic congressional delegation? – Chicago Tribune
U.S. House Resolution 676 — the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act — pretty obviously isn’t going anywhere in the Republican-controlled lower chamber. But it sets forth a bold and increasingly intriguing idea:
The establishement of a “Medicare for All Program to provide all individuals residing in the United States and U.S. territories with free health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care …
“The program (would be) funded: (1) from existing sources of government revenues for health care, (2) by increasing personal income taxes on the top 5% of income earners, (3) by instituting a progressive excise tax on payroll and self-employment income, (4) by instituting a tax on unearned income, and (5) by instituting a tax on stock and bond transactions. Amounts that would have been appropriated for federal public health care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), are transferred and appropriated to carry out this bill.”
The bill has 108 co-sponsors, all Democrats. In Illinois they include Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Evanston), Rep. Robin Kelly (Matteson), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (Chicago), Rep. Danny Davis (Chicago) and Rep. Bobby Rush (Chicago).
The bill also has 85 holdouts — Democratic congressional representatives who aren’t putting their names on this effort. I queried each of their offices to ask why:
Rep. Mike Quigley (Chicago): ”Implementing a single-payer system is an ambitious and worthy goal, but any comprehensive overhaul to our healthcare system requires thoughtful consideration to understand the potential benefits, as well as the costs. That means holding Congressional hearings, soliciting expert analysis, and obtaining a CBO score — a distinctly different process than we just witnessed in the House’s passage of TrumpCare. As we continue to pursue the goal of ensuring care that is both accessible and affordable, I would encourage my colleagues to consider a public health insurance option on the ACA exchanges to provide individuals with an alternative to private coverage.”
Rep. Dan Lipinski (Western Springs): ”The description most commonly used with this bill, “Medicare for all,” is not very accurate. Unlike the system that would be implemented under the bill, Medicare is not no-cost healthcare treatment for everyone who is covered by it, and there are private insurers who are involved with Medicare Advantage. So even from the insurance side, H.R. 676 is not like Medicare. In addition, Medicare does not require all providers to be non-profit to participate in it as H.R. 676 requires.
“There is also not enough detail in H.R. 676 for an analysis of the impact that it would have on healthcare for individuals in the United States, what the American healthcare provider system would look like if it was enacted, or how much it would cost. These are all critical questions. In regards to cost, we know that the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will be depleted in 2028 and we must make changes to keep it funded. Recently, Vermont rejected a single-payer system because of cost and Colorado voters also rejected it.
“In the immediate future, we need to fight to stop Republican attempts to repeal the ACA (Obamacare) and replace it with the AHCA. As we do this, we also need to focus on making the ACA work better for people by reining in costs. This is how we can best work right now to help provide better healthcare to the American people.”
Rep. Bill Foster (Naperville): ” I am still reviewing the legislation, which has not yet received a score from the Congressional Budget Office. However, I note the Affordable Care Act already allows states to experiment with universal health care, which is an appropriate venue to help determine the trade-offs and true costs of this and similar proposals. Right now, I am focused on contending with the passage of the disastrous American Health Care Act yesterday. More than 24 million Americans stand to lose their insurance, and our first priority must be preventing this legislation from becoming law.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos (East Moline): ”Cheri’s complete and total focus on health care is on stopping Trumpcare which would raise out of pocket costs on working families, impose an age tax on older Americans and make it easier for insurance companies to price people with pre-existing conditions out of the market. She thinks the best path forward right now is to keep what is working and fix what isn’t by reducing the cost of prescription drugs and making health care more accessible and affordable.” Via spokesman Jared Smith.