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House Democrats Introduce Medicare-for-All Legislation

On Wednesday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), along with 106 fellow Democrat cosponsors, introduced H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019, which calls for a two-year transformation of Medicare into a universal “Medicare for All” system. The bill would expand Medicare coverage to include medical, dental, vision, prescription drugs, maternity care, and long-term care—all without charging co-pays, premiums, or deductibles.

Although the bill did not include a cost estimate, Rep. Jayapal indicated that she would release a separate list of suggested funding sources. A similar proposal introduced in the Senate by Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to cost more than $30 trillion over a 10-year-period, and Republicans and various healthcare industry groups are opposed to such a costly program.

After being introduced, H.R. 1384 was assigned to six House committees, including Energy and Commerce (E&C), but E&C Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), though a proponent of universal healthcare, has not shown interest in holding a hearing on the measure. Chairman Pallone, like hospitals and insurers opposing the bill, would rather focus on policies that would improve the Affordable Care Act, such as expanding subsidies and restoring cost-sharing reductions.

A summary and full text of the Medicare for All Act is available here.

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