Obviously, Legislative Efforts are divided between efforts in DC and Raleigh.
Representative John Conyers (D-MI) has been the most consistent elected leader at the national level and first introduced the famous H.R. 676 in 2003. Since then, he has introduced the bill at every session of Congress. In 2013, 77 other House members signed on as co-sponsors. The bill has won support around the country, with endorsement by 26 international unions and several national organizations, including the NAACP. It continues to provide a focus for organizing and education about single-payer.
I want to cover everybody. Now, the truth is that unless you have a — what’s called a single-payer system, in which everybody’s automatically covered, then you’re probably not going to reach every single individual. Barack Obama, July 22, 2009
The Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act (H.R. 676)
North Carolina Legislation
NC legislators from both the House and the Senate announced a bill to expand Medicaid in NC before assembled advocates at the Medicaid Expansion Advocacy Day on March 24, 2015 in Raleigh. Groups of NC House and Senate legislators met filing deadlines for the bill in their respective chambers on March 23.
In the House, 34 elected officials from Buncombe to Halifax to New Brunswick signed on to H-330. In the Senate, a narrower group of seven legislators co-sponsored S-365 with the same language. Both bills passed the first reading and will go to respective committees, Health in the House and Rules and Operations in the Senate. To date no elected Republican has joined either group.
The bill is only 89 lines and gets right to the point. Section 1 repeals the prior “prohibition of Medicaid expansion” and Section 2 turns right around to require coverage under Obamacare. This would cover all North Carolinians (not including undocumented immigrants, of course) who have incomes equal to or less than 138% of the federal poverty guidelines.
There is no offer to negotiate a waiver with the Federal HHS regarding the coverage, eligiblity or cost-sharing aspects of the program, as has been developed in other states with Republican governors.
The rest of each bill details appropriations for the estimated cost to NC of about $95.3 million per year. The federal contribution would be an estimated $2.4 billion
|Senate sponsors of S-365:||House sponsors of H-330:|
There is some notable past history of legislative efforts to expand health care access and ensure comprehensive health care for all North Carolinians.
In 2007, Rep. Verla Insko (D-56), along with 37 other legislators, introduced HB 901. Its title was “An Act to Amend the NC Constitution to Recognize the Right the Health Care”. It called for a popular vote on the right to health care in the November 2008 election. It “died” in committee and was never debated by the full House.
The next year, Rep. Insko tried another angle to highlight problems in health care access. She authored a bill that called for the Institute of Medicine to convene a panel to continue “study on issues related to access to and appropriate health care for all North Carolinians”. That bill also “died” in committee but some of the language was included in a final study bill. Unfortunately it would have required funding, and the huge budget shortfall in 2009 effectively killed it.
In 2011, Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-60) began work on a single-payer bill. He drafted a proposal that would provide all North Carolinians with comprehensive health benefits. The system would be funded by all taxpayers “based on their ability to pay” and also by means of a stable funding stream. The bill gave the Departments of Insurance and Health and Human Services responsibility for determining the stable funding stream and operating the plan. It did not go beyond the draft stage.