President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965. At that time, millions of Americans and about half our nation’s seniors lacked health care coverage. Today, 45 years later, the new health care law passed this year strengthened Medicare. The law still falls short, however, of providing the Medicare-for-all single-payer system which is the only way we will ever have a cost-effective, comprehensive health care system in this country. To mark Medicare’s anniversary, Sanders joined House colleagues in a letter supporting the expansion of the quality, affordable comprehensive coverage for all Americans.
“Now that a new health care bill has been signed into law, it has never been more important to have a strong movement behind Medicare for All,” Sanders wrote along with Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. But they warn: “The truth is not enough. We already know that such a health care system has repeatedly proven to control costs more effectively, cover everyone or almost everyone, and deliver care of significantly higher quality than health care systems that tolerate the presence of private health insurance companies. Now we must make it so that the truth can no longer be ignored.”
The single payer champions discuss some significant steps toward progress which were included in the recently-passed health care law, including a Sanders provision “allowing a waiver from the Exchanges for states to innovate with health coverage such as a state-based Medicare for All-like system that was included in the new law. … Though the effective date for the Exchange waiver was pushed back to 2017 by the Congressional Budget Office to avoid driving up the estimated cost of the bill, the waiver’s presence sent a clear message: if a state thinks it can do better, Congress wants to see it.”
They concluded: “we vow to continue to fight alongside you for health care
justice at both the federal and state levels. We believe that
Medicare for All is inevitable in the United States. It is up to all of
us to determine when the inevitable becomes the reality.”
To read the full letter, click here.