Release: Senate to Take up Single-Payer Health Plan

WASHINGTON, December 15 - The Senate on Wednesday will debate for the first time in American history a proposal to create a single-payer, Medicare-for-all health care system.

"In my view, the single-payer approach is the only way we will ever have a cost-effective, comprehensive health care system in this country," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose amendment will come before the Senate.

The Sanders Amendment would provide health care and dental coverage for every American, save money, and improve health care results.

"One of the reasons our current health care system is so expensive, so wasteful, so bureaucratic, so inefficient is that it is heavily dominated by private health insurance companies whose only goal in life is to make as much money as they can," Sanders said.

The 1,300 profit-making private insurance companies administer thousands of separate plans and waste about $400 billion a year on administrative costs, profiteering, high CEO compensation packages, and advertising. Health care providers spend another $210 billion on administrative costs, mostly to deal with insurance paperwork. 

As a result, the United States spends $7,129 per person on health care, almost double the amount spent by nearly any other industrialized country. Nevertheless, 46 million Americans lack health insurance, 100 million Americans cannot access dental care, and 60 million Americans do not have access to primary care.

Sanders acknowledged that his amendment would not pass. "As a result of the power of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, this amendment will not pass or even get very many votes.  Nonetheless, given the view of millions of us that a single-payer approach is the only way this country will ever provide comprehensive, cost-effective health care to all its citizens, this is an important step forward. 

"At the end of the day - not this year, not next year, but sometime in the future -  this country will come to understand that if we are going to provide comprehensive quality care to all of our people, the only way we will do that is through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system, and I am glad to be able to start that debate by offering this amendment."

To read a summary of the amendment, click here.

To read the amendment, click here.

To sign Sanders' petition, click here.