Massive movement needed to achieve Medicare for All

San Francisco, CA. Healthcare protest.
PHOTO/SARAH MENEFEE

 

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has introduced HR 1384 in the U.S House of Representatives with 106 congressional co-signers. It is the most extensive legislation proposed for Medicare for All, with everyone in and no one out, and replaces the traditional standard bearer HR 676. The legislation provides for:

· Universal and comprehensive health coverage for every resident of the United States.

· A publicly financed government national health insurance program that ends the role of the private insurance industry in the provision of health insurance and ends the need for employment-based insurance, while including a training and support program for displaced commercial insurance workers.

· Comprehensive benefits that includes far more coverage than any existing commercial insurances, without any out of pocket costs: Benefits include hospital and outpatient care; preventive and emergency care; mental health and substance abuse treatment; laboratory and diagnostic services; comprehensive reproductive care both maternal and newborn, as well as abortion, prescription drugs, medical devices, vision, hearing and dental care, dietary and nutritional therapies.

· All Long-term care services, prioritizing home based care; necessary transportation and openings for integrative and complementary care modalities.

· Financing merges existing funds from Medicare, Medicaid and other public resources. (Progressive taxation is implied.) The VA and Indian Health Services are maintained.

Make no mistake about it. Just as it took a movement for single payer healthcare 30 years to arrive at this point, it will take a far more unified and massive social struggle to realize and implement the scope of this transformative legislative proposal. The bill rightly and repeatedly emphasizes a financial structure aimed at ending our grotesque health disparities from rural health deserts and regional inequalities to income, immigrant, racial and gender-based health inequities, while insuring high quality healthcare for all people in this country. It is recognition of a society flush with an abundance of health resources but a dearth of distribution based on need regardless of circumstance. It challenges the capitalist equation that those that own the resources can dictate the delivery of our healthcare and goes on the offense against Trump’s 2020 budget proposal that cuts nearly $2 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid.

Winning is tied to a strategic understanding of our common interests for a healthy society in all aspects of our lives, from clean water and environment, to housing and asylum and to freedom from violence, oppression and want. Like Fannie Lou Hamer said, “Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free”: Healthcare for all means, Everybody’s In and Nobody’s Out!

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