Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday introduced legislation to provide health care for every American through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system. Rep. Jim McDermott has filed a companion bill in the House.
Sanders supported the Affordable Care Act, but in an interview with The Daily Beast he called the health care law passed in 2010 “only a modest step forward toward dealing with the dysfunction of the American health-care system.” Even under the new law, Sanders added, insurance companies, drug companies and medical equipment suppliers will be able to rake off billions of dollars in profits rather than devoting those resources to providing health care.
Do you know who doesn’t like American health care? Americans don’t. A recent survey for the Commonwealth Fund of people in 11 countries found Americans were the least satisfied with their own health care system. The study looked at costs, wait times, barriers to access, quality of care and other measures. In the survey, 75 percent of Americans said our health care system needs fundamental changes or should be completely rebuilt.
"The United States is the only major nation in the industrialized world that does not guarantee health care as a right to its people," Sanders said. "Meanwhile, we spend about twice as much per capita on health care with worse results than other countries that spend far less. It is time that we bring about a fundamental transformation of the American health care system. It is time for us to end private, for-profit participation in delivering basic coverage. It is time for the United States to provide a Medicare-for-all single-payer health coverage program," Sanders said.
While making the case for a single-payer system nationwide, Sanders applauded his home state of Vermont for its progress toward developing its own single-payer system which could become a model for the nation.