Democrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill

Two progressive lawmakers are circulating a letter to their Democratic colleagues asking for cosponsors for a Medicare for all bill as they prepare to introduce it.

Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalPelosi woos progressives on prescription drug pricing plan Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril Overnight Health Care: Watchdog details severe trauma suffered by separated children | Judge approves B CVS-Aetna merger | House Dem Caucus chair backs 'Medicare for All' MORE (D-Wash.) and Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellPolling director: Young voters swayed by health care, economy, gun control The Hill's Morning Report - Can Trump save GOP in North Carolina special election? The Hill's Morning Report - Congress returns: What to expect MORE (D-Mich.) sent the letter, which was obtained by The Hill, on Tuesday, saying they have been working with experts for months to write an updated version of the single-payer health care legislation. Jayapal says she plans to introduce the measure later this month.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We are writing to ask for your support as an original cosponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019,” the letter states. “This is a watershed moment in the fight for guaranteed health care for every resident of the United States.”

The existence of the letter was first reported by The Washington Post.

“For the past several months, we have worked closely with policy experts, health care professionals, patient advocates and movement leaders to revise and improve the bill formerly introduced by Congressman John ConyersJohn James ConyersEXCLUSIVE: Trump on reparations: 'I don't see it happening' McConnell: Reparations aren't 'a good idea' This week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive MORE as HR 676, which laid the foundation for what a Medicare for All system should look like,” Jayapal and Dingell write. “We incorporated important updates made in Senator Sanders’ Medicare for All bill, as well as additional updates critical to our country’s future health care system.”

The letter says that as of Tuesday there were 93 cosponsors on the bill. A Democratic aide said that by the time it is introduced they expect to have “more than 100.”

The measure has no chance of being signed into law with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE in the White House and a Republican Senate, but the measure is a marker of where many Democrats are pushing for their party and the country to go.

Even among Democrats in the House, there are divisions. Democratic leaders have not given their support to the bill, and are currently focused on strengthening the Affordable Care Act.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE (D-Calif.) has given support for hearings on Medicare for all, though, which are expected to occur in the coming weeks in the House Budget and House Rules Committees.

The bill to be introduced will add a range of benefits to enhance the coverage currently provided under Medicare, according to the letter, including “dental, vision, prescription drugs, women’s reproductive health services, maternity and newborn care, long term services and supports and more.”

“It would require no out-of-pocket costs for patients for any services, and it would allow all patients the freedom to choose the doctors, hospitals, and other providers they wish to see,” the letter adds.

Jayapal previously told reporters that the bill will not spell out the tax increases needed to pay for the immense cost of the measure, something that will be very controversial.