The new Medicare for All Act of 2019 “sets a new standard for universally and equitably guaranteeing healthcare as a human right in the United States,” according to an assessment of the legislation
Introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the Medicare for All Act of 2019 “is by far the strongest healthcare proposal being considered by Congress,” says the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). Jayapal’s staff refers to the bill as the “gold standard” Medicare for All proposal.
In a new comprehensive assessment released this week, NESRI analyzes the bill through the scope of human rights related to health, housing, education, and work with dignity. In their in-depth analysis, NESRI rated the new legislation based on five principles: universality, equity, accountability, transparency, and participation. Although overall the legislation scored very high in every area, NESRI was able to point out where there is room for improvement, such as access to social detriments of health, equitable financing, data transparency and reporting, individual access to information, participation, and elimination of financial burdens.
Measured against human rights standards, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 is by far the strongest health care proposal being considered by Congress. If implemented as written and financed progressively, it would guarantee health care as a public good freely available to all, provide financial security, improve national health outcomes, and limit the continued growth in the nation’s health care costs. It would close coverage gaps between insurance programs, abolish coverage limitations, narrow networks, and cost barriers, and eliminate inequitable tiers of coverage that allocate different levels of health care access not on the basis of medical need, but on discriminatory non-medical factors such as income, wealth, employment, age, and immigration status. It would shift health care decision-making from private health care companies to doctors and public, democratic processes. And by including the entire population in a unified program, it would protect public health insurance programs against future political attacks commonly waged against non-universal means-tested social insurance programs.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who is a longtime advocate of Medicare for All and healthcare reform, supports Jayapal’s new legislation:
While health insurance and drug companies make billions in profits, thousands of Americans die each year because they lack access to health care.
We must make health care a right, not a privilege. Thank you @RepJayapal for helping to lead the effort to pass Medicare for All. https://t.co/dQpvFIJ3R7
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 27, 2019
The legislation is being described as even more generous than Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal and would have no premiums, deductibles, co-pays, or other out-of-pocket costs. It would also virtually eliminate all private insurance, though coverage that complements the benefits would be available. Additionally, the bill calls for covering abortion services and for repealing the Hyde Amendment, which bans any federal insurance program from covering abortion.
“It is time to put health over profit and we have a plan – we have a real plan and that plan is the Medicare for All Act of 2019,” Jayapal said at a press conference on Tuesday. “This Medicare for All bill really makes it clear what we mean when we say ‘Medicare for All.’”
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