Butte County Health Care Coalition
 
Keeping Single-Payer "On The Table"


 

Conyers Reintroduces “Expanded & Improved Medicare For All”
Bill (HR 676)

February 14, 2011 by Healthcare-NOW!  

Citing Rising Health Care Costs & Other Systemic Problems With For Profit Health Care As Reason To Move Forward With Non-Profit, Publicly-Financed Health Care, Washington DC- Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), a long-time national leader for non-profit publicly-financed universal health care, today introduced H.R. 676, “The Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act.” The single-payer universal health care bill, which has been introduced since 2003, has 25 original cosponsors, and has sparked a growing national movement in support of the bill. The bill had 85 cosponsors in the 111th Congress, and has the support of over 17,000 doctors, nurses, organized labor, and many activists across the country.

“I am so pleased to announce that we have reintroduced H.R. 676, ‘The Improved and Expanded Medicare For All Act’ in the 112th Congress with 25 original cosponsors,” said Conyers. “The bill is almost identical to the single payer universal health care bill we introduced in the 111th Congress, but we have expanded the benefits package to include coverage of medically necessary oral surgery, nutritional, and dietary health care services, said Conyers.

“President Obama and the Democratic Congress passed historic health reform last year. To his credit, President Obama stated in his 2011 State of the Union Address that he is open to making changes to the law, so that it can be improved and strengthened. This presents a unique opportunity for supporters of improved Medicare For All to come together and work in a constructive way towards transitioning our for-profit and costly health care system to a high-quality, simple, and cost-effective improved Medicare For All program.

“Millions of Americans are frustrated with rising health care costs, and have a deep mistrust of private health insurance companies. The for-profit medicine model has resulted in rationed care and created undue stress and financial hardships for millions of Americans across the nation. Americans are smart—they know improved Medicare For all works in other countries. They also know that our own Medicare program, although not perfect, is a proven and efficient method for providing health care to America’s seniors.

“Perhaps this is why states like Vermont and California are very serious about transitioning towards publicly-financed universal health care programs. The Vermont State Legislature, with the full backing of Governor Peter Shumlin, will most likely pass the nation’s first ever state-based publicly-financed single-payer program sometime this year. This is a very exciting development for the universal health care movement, because success in Vermont could pave the way for the creation of improved Medicare For All programs in other states, and ultimately provide for the passage of H.R. 676.

“Improved and Expanded Medicare For All is inevitable in America– it is just a matter of when it will happen. Single-payer health care systems have successfully contained health care costs and provided high quality health care in countries in Europe, Taiwan, Japan, and Canada. We can no longer continue to embrace the idea that private insurance companies and corporate-owned hospitals and clinics will bring down the costs of health care on their own.

“It is time for Congress, other elected officials, the medical community, health care policy experts, and the national media to begin to seriously examine how a Medicare For All program in America could contain growing health care costs, and provide quality and affordable health care for all. Our current health care system is simply not financially sustainable over the long run. The time has come for deep systemic change in our health care system, and a large dose of common sense.”

Download HR 676 here (.pdf). Download a summary of HR 676 here (.doc). See the full list of Congressional cosponsors here.

California Legislation

(Click here to read news of legislation in other states)

        SB 810
        The California Universal
        Health Care Act of 2011

 SB 810 will provide lifelong, high-quality comprehensive health care to all Californians for less money than we currently spend.
         
        Listed below are the major components of this legislation.
        
        Eligibility: All state residents are covered. California retirees living out of state if they pay required taxes to the Health Care
        
        Fund:

            * No waiting period for at least the first two years
            * Visitors will be charged prevailing rates.

        Benefits:

            * choice of primary provider
            * inpatient and outpatient services
            * diagnostic imaging & laboratory services
            * durable medical equipment - (prosthetics, eyeglasses, hearing aids)
            * emergency/necessary transportation
            * language interpretation immunizations, preventive care & health education
            * rehabilitative care, home health care & hospice care
            * up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility
            * prescription drugs
            * mental health care & substance abuse treatment
            * dentistry & vision care
            * podiatry, chiropractic & acupuncture
            * religious healing as protected under federal or state statutes
            * blood products
            * emergency care
            * adult day care
            * case management
            * dialysis

        Excluded:

            * cosmetic procedures
            * private hospital rooms with no medical indication
            * care by unlicensed providers
            * procedures or medications with no proven medical value


        Budget: Prepared annually by the Commissioner, the budget includes:

            * facility and provider budgets for both fee-for-service and integrated systems (capitated or non-capitated budgets)
            * capital investment & purchasing
            * research and innovation
            * workforce development

        Cost containment:   The Commissioner and regional directors are responsible for keeping overall costs within budget .To contain statewide or regional costs the Commissioner could enact any of the  following methods:

            * Streamline administration, develop electronic billing and reporting.
            * Postpone new benefits or new capital investment.
            * Adjust provider reimbursements to correct for inappropriate utilization.
            * Limit provider reimbursements above a specified amount of aggregate billing.
            * Defer funding of the Reserve Account.
            * Negotiate bulk purchasing of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
            * Limit aggregate reimbursements to pharmaceutical manufacturers.
            * Avoid regional duplication of expensive services.
            * Impose a waiting period for new residents, if a large number of people enter the state for the purpose of obtaining health care.

        Funding:

            * All federal and state monies currently spent on health care (about 30% of health care
            * expenditures) will be reallocated to the Health Insurance Fund.
            * Californians will pay a health insurance premium when filing their state income tax
            * return in proportion to their income.
            * California businesses will pay an employer premium in proportion to their payroll.
            * These funds will replace all premiums now paid to insurance companies, as well as
            * co-pays and deductibles now paid to providers.
            * Premiums will be affordable for every Californian and every business since families will pay in proportion to their income and employers in proportion to payroll.


    Butte County Health Care Coalition
    P.O. Box 3673  Chico, CA 95927
    http://www.buttesinglepayer.org
    http://www.californiaonecare.org

        For further information, call (530) 892-1333
        To arrange for a speaker, call (530) 966-3414

        Please join us in urging your California Assemblymember and Senator to vote “YES” on SB 810.  Encourage others to elect representatives who will support the passage of SB 810.



 









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