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 JayapalHouse Democrat: Seattle airport's ban on ICE detainee flights helps 'hold a lawless administration accountable' The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push WHIP LIST: Democrats who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump MORE (D-Wash.) and Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellDemocrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure Dems walk Trump trade tightrope Pompeo, Army chief of staff attend ceremony honoring Bob Dole 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.

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“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 ConyersReparations: The 'lost cause' of black politics? Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Reparations bill wins new momentum in Congress 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 TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Trump denies 'tantrum' in meeting with Pelosi: 'It is all such a lie!' 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.