On March 17, 2021, Rep. Pramila Jayapal reintroduced H.R. 1976, the Medicare for All Act in the House. The bill already has the support of 113 legislators representing more than half the Democratic caucus.
Like previous versions of the Medicare for All Act, this year’s bill closely mirrors PNHP’s Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform. It would establish a national health program to cover everybody living in the U.S. for all medically necessary care, including hospitalization and doctor visits; dental, vision, hearing, mental health, and reproductive care, including abortion; long-term care services and supports; ambulatory services; and prescription drugs. Patients could visit the doctor or hospital of their choice, without copays or deductibles. The program would pay independent and small group practice providers on a fee-for-service basis, and fund hospitals and other facilities with yearly global operating budgets, with separate funds for capital improvements. By eliminating the profiteering and waste of commercial insurance, Medicare for All would save $600 billion per year while expanding coverage to all.
Key improvements to the Medicare for All Act of 2021
After listening to the concerns of health justice advocates, Rep. Pramila Jayapal made some significant improvements to this year’s bill:
- Protects the national health program by preventing any future administration from reducing or eliminating existing benefits;
- Establishes an Office of Health Equity to monitor and eliminate health disparities, and promote primary care;
- Increases access to mental health care by including Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Mental Health Counselors in the list of covered providers;
- Improves health services for indigenous peoples by providing additional funding for the Indian Health Service;
- Expands support for disabled Americans by expanding eligibility for long-term care supports and services;
- Responds to future public health crises by automatically increasing hospitals’ global budgets during pandemics or other public health emergencies.