WASHINGTON (KDVR) — The latest effort to extend Medicare coverage to every person in the U.S. has once again gotten support from two of Colorado’s congressional representatives.
Democrats Diana DeGette and Joe Neguse are listed as co-sponsors of the House bill introduced on Wednesday, reiterating support they’ve lent to past efforts.
“We must boldly proclaim that health care is a human right and we must fight to make that vision a reality for the American people,” DeGette said this week.
Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell filed the current legislation with 112 House cosponsors. Bernie Sanders introduced companion legislation, with 14 Senate cosponsors on board.
What ‘Medicare for All’ would cover
Under the single-payer proposal, Medicare would be extended to all people in the country, sponsors say. Coverage would include primary care, vision, dental, prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse, long-term services and supports, reproductive health care and the ability to negotiate prescription drug prices.
The bill also proposes universal coverage of long-term care for Americans who are older or have disabilities, with no cost-sharing required.
“Additionally, patients have the freedom to choose the doctors, hospitals, and other providers they wish to see without worrying about whether a provider is in-network,” Jayapal’s office wrote in a release.
Universal health care around the world
Dozens of countries around the globe offer national health care. That includes all nations in the Group of 7 but the U.S. This year’s G-7 summit is set to address “achieving more resilient, equitable and sustainable universal health coverage.”
The timeline below, while not comprehensive, gives the start date for universal health care by country.
A big part of the opposition to a single-payer health care system in the U.S. is the cost, which has doomed similar proposals at the state level — though advocates argue it would provide overall savings through reduced administrative costs. The Republican platform, meanwhile, favors the private market approach, calling for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and deregulation for insurers and care providers.
Meanwhile, public satisfaction with the U.S. health care system is remarkably low, with fewer than half of Americans saying it is generally handled well, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Only 12% say it is handled extremely or very well. Americans have similar views about health care for older adults.
The percentage of people who believe health care coverage is a government responsibility has risen in recent years, ticking up from 57% in 2019 and 62% in 2017.
About 4 in 10 Americans say they support a single-payer health care system that would require Americans to get their health insurance from a government plan. More people, 58%, say they favor a government health insurance plan that anyone can purchase.
Medicaid coverage ending for millions
The latest attempt at Medicare for All comes as millions are set to lose Medicaid with the end of the federal public health emergency for COVID-19.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government prohibited states from kicking people off Medicaid, even if they were no longer eligible. But now, states will be required to start checking eligibility again over the next year.
Around 1.7 million people are enrolled in Colorado’s public health coverage programs, according to the state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.
The state said it was to begin checking eligibility again in May, with the overall renewal process to last an estimated 12 months.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.