Medicare for All

WASHINGTON, July 31 – On the 48th anniversary of congressional passage of the law that created Medicare, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today joined a coalition advocating a Medicare-for-all health care system to provide better care at less cost for more Americans.

Sanders spoke at a news conference on Capitol Hill with Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and other supporters of a single-payer health care system.

Sanders cited Vermont’s leadership on bringing about bold health care reform. “It is long past time that we recognize health care is a right, not a privilege,” Sanders said. “I am proud that Vermont is leading the nation in working to establish a single-payer system to provide better care at less cost.”

Sanders and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) have proposed a state-based single-payer system to provide health care along with dental and mental health services and low-cost prescription drugs.

The United States today spends about twice as much per capita on health care as other major nations but has worse outcomes, Sanders noted. The Affordable Care Act is a step forward, he said, but as many as 30 million Americans will still be without health insurance after the new law is fully implemented, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Sanders noted that about 30 percent of what the United States spends on health care pays for administrative expenses, not actual care. Medicare, by comparison, spends less than 3 percent on administration.