In response to the 87 million uninsured or under-insured Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) recently introduced legislation that would guarantee health care for all Americans during this crisis. In addition to empowering Medicare to pay all of the costs of treatment for the uninsured, the bill would also cover all out-of-pocket costs for those with public or private insurance, for as long as this pandemic continues.
On Friday, Sen. Sanders and Rep. Javapal announced the introduction of the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act. As the number of uninsured and under-insured Americans continues to increase with each passing day, the legislators authored a bill that would ensure that every American receives medical treatment during the coronavirus pandemic regardless of income.
“During this unprecedented crisis, no one in America should delay seeking medical care because of the cost. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are only as safe as the least-insured among us,” Sanders stated in a recent press release. “We have got to work together to make sure that anyone in America who is sick—regardless of their income or immigration status—can seek the medical treatment they need during this national emergency. With an estimated 35 million Americans in danger of losing their employer-provided health insurance over the coming weeks and months, this legislation is needed now more than ever.”
“Our broken health care system is failing to protect millions of Americans from the coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever, we need to take bold action to prevent more Americans from getting sick or dying,” said Jayapal. “Everyone in America should have guaranteed access to health care, especially during national emergency.”
The legislation also bans surprise billing, empowers Medicare to purchase pharmaceuticals at the same prices as the VA, and prevents private insurance companies from increasing copayments and deductibles, or decreasing coverage, for the duration of the health care crisis.