Sanders proposes universal healthcare bill

Sep 19, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Vermont senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is proposing a bill that would create a universal healthcare system in the U.S.

Sanders’ plan is called the Medicare for All Act. The Act would gradually expand the Medicare program over a four-year period of time, lowering the age of eligibility from 65 to 55, then 45, and eventually expanding it to cover all Americans.

The plan would also see Medicare expanded to cover vision and dental care, and would eliminate copays, premiums and deductibles. It would also cut private insurers out of the program. Instead, the plan would be managed and paid for by the federal government.

Sanders has put forward several ideas for how this healthcare might be paid for, including an increased tax on employers or a new income tax.

Support and opposition in NH

So far, Senator Jeanne Shaheen is the only NH congressional delegate to make a statement in support of Senator Sanders’ plan.

“I believe that healthcare should be a fundamental right in this country. … this bill puts pressure on Congress to think big when it comes to providing the healthcare that all Americans need and deserve.”

- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Shaheen admitted it would be a challenge to get any universal healthcare bill passed in a Republican-controlled Congress.

New Hampshire’s other senator, Maggie Hassan, did not endorse Sanders’ plan. A spokesman for her office said that instead, she is focused on improving the Affordable Care Act to reduce costs.

The Granite State’s U.S. House members, Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster, also refused to sign on to Sanders’ proposal. Instead, both representatives support allowing some or all Americans to buy into Medicare on the open market, alongside private insurance plans.

Universal healthcare is a human right

Those who support the Medicare for All Act argue that access to healthcare is a basic human right, and that no American should be denied health services because of their ability to pay. They also contend that a government-run system would reduce healthcare expenses by lowering administrative costs and negotiating savings on items such as doctors’ visits and prescription drugs.

A government run healthcare monopoly will lead to higher costs

Opponents of Sanders’ plan argue that government-run healthcare will be less efficient than the current system, leading to higher costs, wait times for services, and an increased tax burden. Others express concern that in an effort to control spending, government will dictate what services people can receive, eliminating freedom of choice and reducing the overall quality of care.

Do you think NH's congresswomen should support a universal healthcare bill? Leave a comment to have your say.

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