Senators Introduce Resolution Calling for Health Care Public Option

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), along with Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and 22 of their colleagues, introduced a Senate resolution Thursday calling for a public option in the health insurance market.

“The Affordable Care Act has made great progress in helping millions of people get access to health insurance. But at a time when 29 million people are still uninsured and 31 million are underinsured, we must continue to make needed health care reforms so that the American people can have health care as a right, not a privilege. Insurance companies have shown they are more concerned with serving their shareholders than their customers. Every American deserves the choice of a public option in health insurance,” said Sanders.

“The Affordable Care Act has already expanded health coverage to millions who were previously uninsured and given countless Americans greater peace of mind. We should build on this success by driving competition and holding insurance companies accountable with a public, Medicare-like option available to every American,” said Merkley.

“Rather than refighting old political battles and trying to put insurance companies back in charge, Republicans should join Democrats in expanding choice for consumers by supporting a public health insurance option. We need more competition in the insurance markets, not less, and this plan would help reduce costs and provide consumers with more affordable options when it comes to their health insurance,” said Schumer.

“The passage of the Affordable Care Act was an important step toward making health care more affordable and accessible, but it shouldn't be the last step we take. I believe that there should be a public option in our insurance marketplaces to help reduce premiums, compete with the insurance companies so that consumers are put first and give working families across the country more affordable choices,” said Murray.

“Ensuring that everybody in America has access to quality affordable health care is something that generations of leaders have worked toward. The Affordable Care Act was a massive step toward that goal, but it’s critical that we continue to push until we achieve it. A public option would get us there by increasing competition and accountability in the health insurance market and saving taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Durbin.

Specifically, the resolution states support for efforts “to build on the Affordable Care Act by ensuring that, in addition to the coverage options provided by private insurers, every American has access to a public health insurance option which, when established, will strengthen competition, improve affordability for families by reducing premiums and increasing choices and save American taxpayers billions of dollars.”

In addition to Sanders, Merkley, Schumer, Murray and Durbin, the resolution is cosponsored by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).