Dems reintroduce bill granting universal, no-cost health coverage

"It is my opinion, and the belief of many leading healthcare practitioners and experts, that establishing a nonprofit universal single-payer healthcare system would be the best way to effectively contain healthcare costs and provide quality care for all Americans," he said Wednesday. "It is time for members of Congress, health policy scholars, economists, and the medical community to begin a serious discussion of the merits of a universal single-payer healthcare system."

Conyers has introduced similar legislation every year since 2003, and said he would "continue to do until the bill is passed."

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His legislation would give every citizen and resident a card enabling them to access healthcare anywhere. Those cards would have separate ID numbers on them, and would not use Social Security numbers.

The government health plan would cover all procedures, and would not require people to pay copays or deductibles. The program would be funded by what Conyers said would be a "modest payroll tax" on workers and companies, a financial transaction tax, and higher taxes on wealthy Americans.

While the bill would initially allow for-profit medicine to continue, it would require the industry to move to a nonprofit system no later than 15 years after it becomes law.

Conyers estimates that a family of four would have reduced healthcare costs under the bill of $2,700, not the $4,225 it now pays. He also estimates that businesses will pay less than they do today.

Conyers introduced his bill with 37 cosponsors. Last year, his bill garnered 77 cosponsors, but it was never the subject of a hearing.