House “Medicare for All” Bill More Comprehensive Than Sen. Sanders’ Measure

March 01, 2019

More than 100 House Democrats, led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), introduced a new Medicare for All bill that would eliminate employer-provided health care benefits with no clear funding source for the program besides higher taxes on the wealthy and employer contributions.

Outlaw employer-sponsored health benefits:  The bill would eliminate all private insurance plans and out-of-pocket costs for doctor and hospital visits including co-pays and deductibles.  Instead, everyone would be enrolled in one uniform health plan.

The House bill is more ambitious than Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) bill in the Senate.  Rep. Jayapal’s measure differs from Sen. Sanders’ 2017 Medicare for All bill in the following ways:

  • More generous benefits, including coverage for long-term care and nursing services; and

  • A two-year transition as opposed to Sanders’ four-year transition.

How to pay for it?  The bill does not include information on how the government plans to fund a national health plan.  Rep. Jayapal said, “Most bills don’t have that when they’re introduced, that comes later in the process.  I actually think the question is not about how we pay for it; the question is where is the will to make sure every American has the health care they deserve and have a right [to it].”

Outlook: This bill comes at a time when many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are coalescing behind a platform of single-payer health care reform.  Yet its significant differences from the Sanders bill illustrates the many different forms a single-payer system could take.

To help you understand the full range of health care reform proposals and what they may mean to employer coverage, we invite you to read the American Health Policy Institute education series. You may read installments 1-4 here.