Legislation to provide health care for every American through a Medicare-for-all type single-payer system was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bernie Sanders and in the House by Rep. Jim McDermott. Their twin bills would provide better care for more patients at less cost by eliminating the middle-man role played by private insurance companies that rake off billions of dollars in profits. The American Health Security Act of 2011 would provide federal guidelines and strong minimum standards for states to establish and administer single-payer health care programs. At a press conference outside the Capitol, Sanders applauded the Vermont Legislature for voting to put the state on the path toward a single-payer system. Vermont, he said, could become a model for the nation.

57 Comments

  1. Bill on May 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    That news are great, it is just the beginning of our fight. Health care for all! Our helath is not for profitters!



  2. Howard Luttrell on May 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    It seems like a viable idea to me!



  3. Lillian Schulz on May 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I wish you luck. I was hoping for a single payer plan from the beginning and was very disappointed that President Obama wouldn’t even put it in the debate.



    • Cynthia DeCuir on May 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm

      President Obama, having already served as a Senator in Illinois and then in Washington D.C. knew well the climate into which the Affordable Care Act would be welcomed–an extremely belligerent Congress with members whose campaigned are backed by health insurance lobbyists. Obama knew that he had to get a foot into the door and that a provision for the STATES to start Single Payer WOULD sneak in. Hence Vermont, and beyond. Rep. McDermott is correct, the Affordable Care Act is a START. Obama is on record (2004) for supporting a national Universal Medicare. But if ANY healthcare reform has been impossible for 70 years with the greed that runs the Congress (including Blue Dog Democrats), do you think HR-676 or anything like it could just sail in? You need to see the big picture–just like Rep. McDermott and Sen. Sanders working inclusively since 1984! No whining, just push, push, push.



      • John Riley on May 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm

        Cynthia:

        I think you are quite right, that there has to be a steady push ; however, I also think that there will be, at some point, some action, or crisis, or event, that will be te final impetus to make comprehensive health care a reality. What that straw that finally breaks the back if the entrenched greedy status quo will be, I do not know.



        • Louis Peter on May 13, 2011 at 12:14 am

          We can’t afford to wait for that final straw or impetus…
          we already have the tree-log that broke our back…
          People are going sick, bankrupt and dying because of this corrupt
          system
          we have to take action, can’t wait, can’t be complacent



        • Laurel on May 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

          It seems that THAT is exactly what is happening right now! We face a serious deficit problem now and cahnging to HR 676, enhanced Medicare For All is the solution, not the problem.

          A single payer system run by an independent board of professionals with consumer representation and an elimination of the costly fee for service approach instead of efficient and high quality best practice approaches to care would cut costs as would leaving out those ruthless Scrouges from the insurance industry.

          Anyone want due diligence material? visit pnhp.org.
          God bless America now, please.



      • Louis Peter on May 13, 2011 at 12:09 am

        Cinthia

        He had the mandate of the American people…
        All he and his administration had to do was to get off their arse and
        explain, educate and convince, and push the Congress!
        The only people who were heard during the whole debate were the Republicans and their cohorts!
        Screeming and lying and fearmongering.
        Dems can’t talk? Raise their voices? Did you see all the circus appearances and phony debates by the republicans and some of the disingenuous arguments? even some of the Blue dog Dems, all lying,
        corrupt scum…
        I watched C-Span for 2 years, I could not beleive what crooks we have
        in our government!
        I have never been so disappointed and angry with our government, I wished we were back in the French Revolution days, just lead them out
        and off with their heads!



      • Garland on May 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm

        Obama had super majorities in bo the Senate and the House. He could have passed this if he wanted too. The idea of a single pay system vi Medicare was Tip O’Neill’s—and it was agood one. This should be passed.



    • Louis Peter on May 12, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      Yeah, he sold us out like the cheap slug politician he is



    • aileen borganson on May 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      I believe if President Obama had requested a single payer plan nothing would have been passed.

      At the least, something good was passed. We can aim for single-payer plan in the future.

      Most everyone is difficult to change their mind, unfortunately.
      One step at a time until a miracle can happen..



  4. garyro on May 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    alas, I suspect a single payer is not an option this congress. Remember those single payer folks led out of senate committee hearing in handcuffs?

    things worse now than then



    • Katie on May 13, 2011 at 11:50 am

      As someone who was led out in handcuffs, I am more encouraged than ever that we can build a people’s movement to win on this issue! Don’t give up! “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.”



  5. Susan Hemmer on May 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you Sen. Sanders!!! I was so afraid this subject had been dropped. Yes, healthcare is a human right. The corporations own our government so how are we going to wrest healthcare away from them? I am afraid the corporations are just too powerful ~~ we have become a corporate-ocracy, which is a kind of neo-fascism.
    I have lived in Florida for 50 years ~~ but I may be moving back to Vermont!
    Sen. Sanders, would you ever consider being out President?



  6. Maureen Kelley on May 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    We have never needed anything more – I just hope this bill includes coverage for alternative medicine!!!



    • WynandaJacoby on May 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      welcome news.I also thought this country’s government was looking like the North African ones,all corrupt and in the pocket of big corporations. How wonderful it would be to get the big salaries of Blue Cross Blue shield and Aetna CHMNS (billions of dollars, to be put to work and yes hugely important to include alternative medicine.!!!!!It saves lots of headaches and lots of illnesses.(and money)in the end. Bravo to Reps Sanders and McDermott for their longtime work BUT will it pass all those miilionaire senators on the hill??!! Lets meditade on this and get it done.



  7. Bruce Stark on May 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    A single payer medicare for all system is absolutely the only way to provide quality health care for all and still dramatically reduce costs. The rest of the world got it right, now it is our turn.



  8. Bryce Babcock on May 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    THANK YOU, SEN. SANDERS and REP. McDERMOTT!!! A single-payer healthcare system is long overdue!! It is the only sane way to fix our current broken system. I lived in Canada for 15 years and their single-payer system is far superior to what we have currently here in the US. When will a majority of vothers in this country wake up? Don’t listen to the uninformed or ignorant fear-mongers. MEDICARE FOR ALL is the only way to go.



  9. JIM, STOLZ on May 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    THIS DISABLED VETERAN THINKS ALL CITIZENS SHOULD HAVE HEALTH CARE..



    • danny6114 on May 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

      So does this one, with dental included!



      • Katie on May 13, 2011 at 11:51 am

        Thank you for your service and your advocacy for single-payer health care!



  10. Ellen Deschatres on May 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    We still have family in France, and I have seen first-hand how well universal healthcare works in Europe. There is NO reason we cannot do this, other than greed on the part of the insurance providers and profiteering from all aspects of healthcare by all concerned. Healthcare should not primarily be for profit. Decent healthcare is a basic right!!! Bless you, Senator Sanders…please do not stop fighting this fight.



  11. Henry Bennett on May 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    This Medicare recipient says we should have Medicare for everybody – everybody in – nobody out! We should also eliminate the prohibition on negotiating pharmaceutical prices that is currently in Medicare Part D – it is just a giveaway to the big pharmaceutical companies. Finally – Medicare should cover EVERYTHING that is medically necessary – no more need for Medicare supplemental insurance!



  12. lauren serven on May 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    GO FOR IT. THANK YOU SENATOR SANDERS AND REP. MC DERMOTT FOR YOUR COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP IN PROCLAIMING THAT HEALTH CARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT. IT IS TIME TO CREATE A SUSTAINABLE SYSTEM OF HEALTH CARE FUNDING FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES THAT IS BASED ON THESE HUMAN RIGHTS PRINCIPLES INSTEAD OF THE GROSS PROFITEERING THAT HAS BANKRUPTED SO MANY AND CONTINUES TO BANKRUPT OUR COUNTRY MORALLY.



  13. Fred Jakobcic on May 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Those not supporting this have got to be deft, dumb, stupid and corrupted and in the pockets of big insurance and big pharma. Universal, single-payer health care plan is so obvious the best thing going that it is criminal not to support this. I find it unconsionable that congress will not act for the people’s will and not represent the bulk of the people, instad, choosing the wealthy few and coproations. This is sickening. So much money is pouring into congress to fight against the right thing it makes one wonder at the honesty, integrity and the corruption that exists within congress. There are too few doing the good thing, and too many do the wrong thing.



  14. Madelane Coale on May 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    A very BIG THANK YOU, to both Senator Sanders and our own Rep McDermott, from Washington state, for courageously bringing out these bills, when so much is going against them. The corporations are spewing such fear and misinformation, to so many, that people see this, and think it will cost much more than it really will; and that it is socialist, and whatever else their brains can come up with, to bring fear to the uninformed. It’s time that people in this country, don’t have to fear, that because they get diagnosed with a possible catastrophic disease, they will die without insurance. Or if they do have insurance they will have to fight tooth and nail to get the insurance company to pay for their bills. Healthcare should not be for profit, because our lives are priceless.



  15. StanDorothy Thomas on May 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Single payeris thw only program that will work!



  16. Alice Ann Stern on May 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    All of my access to my medical treatment will once again be terminated in July of 2011. I was without access to most, if not all, of my medical treatment from 2002 through 2009 until the former Governor Corzine terminated an Horizon BC BS of NJ HMO, on which I had been enrolled by NJ Medicaid. This Horizon BC BS of NJ HMO refused to grant me access to all of my medical treatments, including the diagnosis of dead jaw bone disease from years of receiving IV Pamidronate. I was forced to pay out-of-pocket to receive a diagnostic consultation with a professor of oral surgery, specializing in dead jaw bone disease. I have private Delta dental insurance, for which my older brother pays via AARP. This professor then admitted me into the hospital, using my systemic lupus as a reason to admit me as an inpatient, through the ER. I was kept in the hospital as an inpatient for three days for a tooth extraction and a biopsy of the jaw bone, an otherwise 45-minute outpatient procedure. When I was first placed on this HMO with Horizon BC BS of NJ, I began using the various university hospitals. Early on, I was admitted as an inpatient into a university hospital through the ER for treatment related to my lupus and vasculitis of the colon. I had perforated my colon and had received chemotherapy (while still retaining my private Traditional plan with Horizon BC BS of NJ before the premium rose to $29,500). When I was released from the hospital, a business representative of the Horizon BC BS of NJ came to my home in Moorestown, NJ (the wealthy South Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia) to intimidate and coerce me into not going to the ER for any type of emergency medical intervention. I was in Philadelphia at the time to pick up my prescriptions for long and short-acting morphine from my professor of rheumatology, who refuses to allow me to pay out-of-pocket for the consultative visits to receive the necessary prescriptions. My brother told the Horizon BC BS of NJ representative that if she did not leave his property, he would telephone the police. Had I been home at the time, I would have taken an old car in the garage and crashed it into the woman’s car to obtain a written police record of her visit to my home. The $500 car insurance deductible would have been spent on a good cause. If I am again placed on an HMO by Governor Christie, I will wage an all-out war. Stupidly, the NJ Department of Human Services has provided me a list of all of the potential HMO plans. I intend to contact each one as a warning. Even though I was born with the autosomal condition of IgA deficiency (genetic condition) and developed a rare, severe form of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (which has attacked my CNS, GI system, reproductive system, and urinary system)as a consequence of having my immune system severely damaged at the age of nine years old from a first-generation measles vaccine, where I experienced a very severe, almost fatal auto-immune response and actually contracted the measles virus from the administration of a live-virus vaccine. The SSA claims that I did not become ill until the age of thirty-one years old or older, when I experienced iatrogenic illnesses, such as a collapsed vertebral column and a perforated colon, from over two decades of relatively high to very high doses of corticosteroids. I am being punished, because my relatively young parents were able to support my illness without asking for government aid until they reached their geriatric years. The SSA is also using an amount of money I earned as part of a university fieldwork study, where I received an alleged amount of $3,795 over a supposed period of “several” months. I did, in fact, receive $3,495, which enabled me to continue to receive “Service Benefits” through my Traditional plan with the Horizon BC BS of NJ. I was also exempt from paying income taxes, because the sum was less than $3,500. If one made less than $3,500, one was eligible for the service benefits. While I was in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, both the SSA, the NJ Department of HS, and the Horizon BC BS of NJ repeatedly contacted my mother to fill out forms in my name, including opening a bank account in her name with my name below her name for SSI monthly stipends. I did not find out until nine years after the fact, when I was mailed a letter informing me that my Traditional plan was terminated, since it was deemed “no longer cost effective” by the state of NJ. Both the Horizon BC BS of NJ and the employees of the NJ Department of Human Services contacted my mentally incompetent, geriatric mother to continually fill out forms to downgrade my Tradtional B plan to a Traditional D plan without my knowledge and without my consent. One of the former directors of the NJ Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, Ann Plant, did try to intercede on my behalf in obtaining full disability benefits on my father’s retirement social security, which began in the year of 1982. The SSA refused to grant me an appointment, after receiving a letter from Ms. Plant to reconsider my medical history and debilitation to allow me to apply for disability benefits on my own behalf. The SSA refuses to this day to allow me to apply for disability benefits on my own behalf. I have full documentation of the violations of my person, thanks to my mother keeping all of the paper work she did. Even after my mother experienced a major stroke, seriously affecting her speech, after having an aorta implant (June of 1997), all of the above parties continued to contact my mother by telephone and US Postal Service through the year of at least 2000 without my knowledge and without my consent. From 1998 through part of the year 2001, I was either in France, Israel, England, or out-of-state in either NY or the Greater Washington, DC region. As soon as my medical treatments were terminated, I literally became imprisoned in my brother’s home in South Jersey. I possess a visceral hatred for NJ, especially South Jersey for a number of legitimate reasons. I was forced to drop out of graduate school due to the very actions of the U.S. federal government and the state of NJ. Had I received the full social security benefits, I would have completed my graduate studies and would have been capable of working on at least a part-time basis, rendering me financially capable of supporting myself with some help from my brother. With full access to all possible medical treatment, I could eventually work on a full-time basis with the necessary educational graduate degrees and a number of accommodations for the federal government. I have certain unique skills and experience in the Middle East, thanks to my lupus and other health problems (which enabled me to gain access and trust of the locals on whom I became totally dependent). charlstern@aol.com



    • WynandaJacoby on May 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      hello I do have compassion for you but this is much too long of a history and frankly not a good story to support Single payer and get support for it. I wish you good health and happiness.



  17. Kenneth Ehrenthal on May 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    It makes much sense to have a single payer plan. But I believe that along with a single-payer plan, any plan must include some co-pay provisions. Let me explain: we have come to expect “free” service from the government, and there ARE those who will take advantage…that is not to say that all Americans should have equal access to the highest quality medical care. Fees for service can be determined, in exactly the same way taxes are determined. The higher your income (I mean all income) the higher your co-pay. A person who has very limited income could be charged $1.00 and millionaires could be charged $100’s. Each person should be able to choose their doctors and hospitals. Doctors and hospitals could advertise their fees, just as Pharmacy’s advertise their prices. We also have to put a wall between Doctors and Hospitals (ownership, I mean) as well as ownership in Pharmacy’s.



    • David Greenstein on May 13, 2011 at 12:20 am

      I agree with Kenneth Ehrenthal and his recommendation that a single payer Medicare for all is the best approach and that we should all have a percentage copay for all services used. Rich patients should have a higher percentage and poor patients should have a lower percentage copay. These percentages will ensure that medical services will be used only when patients are willing to pay their portion so as to prevent abuse of the system. Totally free services will tend to be overused. Doctors and hospitals should be required to publish price lists to allow patients to choose the best providers at the lowest cost thus promoting natural competition in health care. In addition, opening up Medicare for all citizens will allow the system to serve younger patients who use services less than the older population thus making Medicare more cost effective. A single payer Medicare for all system will go very far to reduce healthcare costs and help us balance our budget. There is an incredible amount of overt and hidden waste in our present “Insurance schemes for all” system so that riding ourselves of insurance companies will almost certainly be successful. We need healthcare for all and not insurance companies for all. I am an optometrist and I know first hand so many inefficiencies and excessive costs in vision care because of all the “plans”. If there were Medicare for all, I would make less money with a lot less complications to satisfy insurance companies. I would be more efficient and provide better and more appropriate care for my patients. Insurance companies are the problem not the solution to America’s health. I think Congress should summon up some integrity and refuse the enormous sums (bribes) contributed to them by the 1300 health insurance companies.



    • Jane Dickler Lebow on May 13, 2011 at 9:45 am

      There seems to be some misapprehension here about how a single-payer system would be paid for. It would by no means be a free ride, paid for out of existing government funds. Like Medicare and Social Security, it would be paid for by withholding from income (like FICA, disability and other programs). People could choose also to continue to be privately, but who would want to do that?

      Also, there should be no invidious comparisons to healthcare in other countries (although a cousin of mine was cared for magnificently, free, in Canada, for a rare cancer, and with no waiting period, and my son-in-law’s life was saved, in Scotland, by speedy action on what could have developed into a pulmonary embolism). We spend so much on healthcare in this country that taking profit out of it would save a great deal of money, and we all might even see our healthcare costs (through specific taxes like those for Medicare) decrease. Our healthcare system could be the envy of the world, instead of being a shameful wreck, dependent on insurance companies’ and Big Pharma’s thirst for profits, huge amounts of payments going to bureaucrats and too many people uninsured or underinsured. And having seen, through my relatives’ experiences and my own (when I lived in England), the way a single-payer system works, I can assure you that nobody with urgent needs is left to sicken further or to wait for treatment. Here, those people either have to go to an emergency room (often, too late and often, on the taxpayers’ dime) or depend on the whims and tables of benefits and rules of private insurance. Those people are far more likely to get either substandard treatment or no treatment at all. Congress has a Medicare-like system; so do veterans. All of us should have the same.

      More on paying for a plan: I am on Medicare now, and pay a reasonable premium for my Part B (though nobody has to opt to have Part B, the medical part of Medicare, Part A being the hospitalization part). What I paid to private insurers as an individual before Medicare (freelance editors don’t have employers to pay for part of their insurance and negotiate rates) would have been enough to pay for both my insurance under a single-payer plan and that of at least one family, and maybe more. I would gladly pay taxes for that. My neighbor, now on Medicare, too, was not as fortunate as I: She had no health insurance, because it was too expensive to have even a basic plan.

      It is so hypocritical of those in Congress to oppose single payer while screaming about our accumulating debt. Someone must show how much money would be saved by single payer, how everyone would have the same opportunity to be insured by a fine nationwide healthcare system, how most people would not have to pay more for their insurance under such a system than they do now – and how most probably would pay less. Medicare Part B is indexed, after a certain income level, for income, allowing those who are not well off to pay a minimum rate, and I assume that “Medicare for all” would be financed similarly.

      I hope this will comfort those who worry how “Medicare for All” would be financed. Withholding would take care of it, and those whose income is too low for them to pay taxes(some of them on Medicaid, Social Security Disability, Child Health Plus and other programs) would be cared for, too.



  18. Jim Williams on May 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    How can we get a copy? How does it differ from HR676, proposed by Congressman John Conyers?



    • Gail on May 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      Here are links to copies of the bill. Thomas has posted the text of H.R. 1200 (the House version), but has not yet posted the text of S. 915 (the Senate version). However, the following links will take you to easily readable pdfs of both bills:
      S. 915: http://sanders.senate.gov/files/TAM11019_xml.pdf
      H.R. 1200: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr1200ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr1200ih.pdf
      The meat of both bills is identical. The introductions differ, of course.
      The chief difference between H.R. 676 and these two bills is that these bills define, explicitly and with much detail, exactly what will be covered in each area of health care mentioned in H.R. 676. Although I haven’t meticulously compared H.R. 676 with these “twin” bills (I’m doing that, now) I believe that this is the main difference between H.R 676 and these two.
      It doesn’t appear that alternative medicine is covered, per se, but, as well, there is nothing that denies it. My guess is that including alternative medicine may end up being a matter of further definition and lobbying on behalf of the details of the bill.
      The other major difference is that these twin bills contain calls for repeal of certain government health care programs that will be replaced with this program. This includes Medicare and Medicaid, as well as repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act. These bills, though, ARE MUCH BETTER AND OFFER SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER COVERAGE than any of the programs they are replacing (including Medicare).
      It is well worth your time to read one or the other of these bills, even though they are each 188 pages. The coverage detail is interesting and important and will give you the (clear) information you need to contact your representatives and others (including Sen. Sanders, Rep. McDermott and President Obama) and support inclusions you think are important. For instance, under Dental coverage, there is only slight, miserable coverage for endodontic services (root canals, i.e.). This seems curious and unreasonable.
      As well, neither of the bills, so far, has Co-Sponsors. NOW IS THE TIME TO LOBBY YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSPERSON TO CO-SPONSOR THESE BILLS.
      You may also want to follow these bills and show support for them at OpenCongress.org. Here are the links for both bills at that site:
      H.R. 1200: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h1200/show
      S. 915: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s915/show
      IMPORTANT NOTE: So little has been reported in the media on these bills, even after Sanders’ and McDermotts’ belated announcements, that OpenCongress.org is having trouble finding news links for either bill. TIME TO GET THE WORD OUT. We cannot allow the media and special interests to bury these bills by ignoring them and pretending they don’t exist, the way they perennially do to H.R. 676 and they way they did to the single payer movement during the formation and debate of the Affordable Health Care Act. The obfuscation has already begun. Sanders’ bill was introduced on 5/9/11; McDermott’s bill was, though, introduced on 3/17/11. Today is the first I’ve heard of either, through HealthCare Now (THANK YOU, HealthCare Now). Don’t just write your reps. Don’t just write the President. Don’t just write Sanders and McDermott. Read the bills and inform yourself. Consider what you’d like added and let those who are involved with the bills know. Blog about them. Contact your favorite news commentators and challenge them to feature stories on these bills. ASK YOUR MEDIA OUTLETS WHY THEY ARE IGNORING THESE BILLS AND CHALLENGE THEM TO COVER THEM!
      That’s exactly what I’m doing.
      SINGLE PAYER SUPPORTERS, UNITE! AGAIN, THIS IS OUR TIME!



    • Katie on May 13, 2011 at 11:52 am

      Hi Jim! We are waiting to see the full text too. We will be doing a comparison and distributing it soon. Thanks for your support!



    • Gail on May 16, 2011 at 12:12 am

      Originally posted 5/12/11 in response to Jim Williams. Somehow got lost. Contains links for text of both bills (most of the text in the bills is exactly the same):

      Here are links to copies of the bills. Thomas has posted the text of H.R. 1200 (the House version), but has not yet posted the text of S. 915 (the Senate version). However, the following links will take you to easily readable pdfs of both bills:
      S. 915: http://sanders.senate.gov/files/TAM11019_xml.pdf
      H.R. 1200: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr1200ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr1200ih.pdf

      The meat of both bills is identical. The introductions differ, of course.
      The chief difference between H.R. 676 and these two bills is that these bills define, explicitly and with much detail, exactly what will be covered in each area of health care mentioned in H.R. 676 and detailed plans for funding and payments, including, for instance, a defined tax plan with percentages. Although I haven’t meticulously compared H.R. 676 with these “twin” bills (I’m doing that, now) I believe that this is the main difference between H.R 676 and these two.
      It doesn’t appear that alternative medicine is covered, per se, but, as well, there is nothing that denies it. My guess is that including alternative medicine may end up being a matter of further definition and lobbying on behalf of the details of the bill.
      The other major difference is that these twin bills contain calls for repeal of certain government health care programs that will be replaced with this program. This includes Medicare and Medicaid, as well as repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act. These bills, though, ARE MUCH BETTER AND OFFER SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER COVERAGE than any of the programs they are replacing (including Medicare).
      It is well worth your time to read one or the other of these bills, even though they are each 188 pages. The coverage detail is interesting and important and will give you the (clear) information you need to contact your representatives and others (including Sen. Sanders, Rep. McDermott and President Obama) and support inclusions you think are important. For instance, under Dental coverage, there is only slight, miserable coverage for endodontic services (root canals, i.e.). This seems curious and unreasonable.
      As well, neither of the bills, so far, has Co-Sponsors. NOW IS THE TIME TO LOBBY YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSPERSON TO CO-SPONSOR THESE BILLS.

      You can follow the progress of the bills at thomas.gov:
      H.R. 1200: http://thomas.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR01200:@@@L&summ2=m&
      S. 915: Doesn’t yet have a “permanent” home, but you can access all but the text by going to http://thomas.gov/ and doing a search for it after choosing the “Bill Number” button and putting “S. 915” in the search box. It’s easy.

      You may also want to follow these bills and show support for them at OpenCongress.org. Here are the links for both bills at that site:
      H.R. 1200: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h1200/show
      S. 915: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s915/show
      IMPORTANT NOTE: So little has been reported in the media on these bills, even after Sanders’ and McDermotts’ belated announcements, that OpenCongress.org is having trouble finding news links for either bill. TIME TO GET THE WORD OUT. We cannot allow the media and special interests to bury these bills by ignoring them and pretending they don’t exist, the way they perennially do to H.R. 676 and they way they did to the single payer movement during the formation and debate of the Affordable Health Care Act. The obfuscation has already begun. Sanders’ bill was introduced on 5/9/11; McDermott’s bill was, though, introduced on 3/17/11. Today is the first I’ve heard of either, through HealthCare Now (THANK YOU, HealthCare Now). Don’t just write your reps. Don’t just write the President. Don’t just write Sanders and McDermott. Read the bills and inform yourself. Consider what you’d like added and let those who are involved with the bills know. Blog about them. Contact your favorite news commentators and challenge them to feature stories on these bills. ASK YOUR MEDIA OUTLETS WHY THEY ARE IGNORING THESE BILLS AND CHALLENGE THEM TO COVER THEM!
      That’s exactly what I’m doing.

      SINGLE PAYER SUPPORTERS, UNITE! AGAIN, THIS IS OUR TIME!



  19. WynandaJacoby on May 12, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    It is time for Americans to realize this country is falling behind in everything!!The health care and education on top!!If everyone pays just 2% extra in taxes we can get singlepayer andget rid of these greedy Blue Cross chairmans with over the top salaries!!!!just a small extra insurance for those who have huge medical problems by birth). Single payer is the way to progress. The middleclas in this country is suffering from the 3 % of citizens who have all the money so we need help!!SINGLEPAYER>Stopping drug use is also helpful to get America going again.



  20. Richard Mason on May 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I am approaching Medicare in July. I see that I will have to pay a monthly premium. Also, I will have to pay a much higher price for a prescription because we have a Medicare drug law which prohibits Medicare from negotiating with the drug companies.

    Also, I am a veteran. Thanks to the Veterans’ Health Care Eligibility Reform Act passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Democratic President Clinton in 1996, I do not “qualify” for veterans health care benefits because I earn more than the $45,000 household income threshold. When I answered the call to serve back in 1966, I did it willingly. Nobody ever told me that a day would come when I would not qualify for veterans health care. These people have alot of nerve. And the great majority of them did not serve when they had to.

    It seems to me that whatever “benefits” I am supposed to receive, I either do not receive or they have more consequences that actual advantages.

    When will this madness end?



    • Jane Dickler Lebow on May 13, 2011 at 9:53 am

      The premium is for Medicare Part B, which helps with medical costs; Part A has no premium and pays part of hospitalization costs. The basic Part B premium is a little over $100, though people with income over a certain amount pay more. I assume that a single-payer plan also would have a premium of some kind, but it would surely be much lower than the cost of private and even employer-based insurance, having no profit motive.

      And by the way, Part B is voluntary – though not taking it, even with the premium, leaves a person with all the costs of going to doctors.



      • Katie on May 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

        We support a single-payer system that would be responsible for paying into healthcare through a pay roll tax, and there would be no premiums, copays, deductibles, or cost sharing of any kind. We can do this by making the rich pay and getting the profit and waste out of healthcare. Let’s keeping fighting to improve Medicare and expand it to all!



  21. Ron Powers on May 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I am an Obama supporter, I will vote for him in 2012 too, but the reason why Obama dropped support for Universal healthcare was that took money from the Healthcare lobbyists. A prime example of how most politicians will throw Americans under the bus for a few thousand dollars in “campaign donations.” After we fix healthcare we need to toss all lobbyists out of Washington DC.



    • Louis Peter on May 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      I voted for Obama too, I beleived all the “sermon on the mount”
      speeches he gave when campaigning.
      What a sorry disappointment!!!
      this man has no principals, no backbone, and his administration is a bunch of stuttering blundering idiots, replace one, here comes another…all the same
      I don’t think I could have done worse voting for Hillary…



  22. Dianne Bridges on May 12, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    If this bill keeps Medicaid and Medicare in place, then it will not provide uniform, affordable access to care for all.

    Medicaid is a poor-to-mediocre plan at best, and typically, office-based practitioners refuse to take Medicaid patients. Futhermore, Medicaid contains the federally-mandated estate recovery program which stipulates that all states receiving federal Medicaid funding (all states receive this) MUST have an estate recovery program which recovers assets upon death of patients who used Medicaid benefits at age 55 and up. States are required to recover assets for RX and hospital but are allowed to recover for any and all benefits received. Some states take the minimum, some the maximum and some a mix.

    Thus, Medicaid discriminates against patients by age (55 and up vs less than 55) and, under a mandate with no other viable option, exploits b/c it is really a collateral loan. Your estate is everything you own when you die – real property which includes the family home, savings, annuities, furniture, jewelry – the entire kit and kaboodle. The state keeps a running tab and is first in line superceding a will, homestead, etc.

    Medicare as it now stands, is quite expensive for seniors on a fixed income who do have some moderate savings (which they need to pay their heat, food, property taxes, etc which continue to increase).

    Recently I spoke with two SHINE counselors and was told that many seniors are struggling to pay for Part B, Part D or both and are foregoing care b/c they can’t afford to use Part B. They are cutting their pills in half for the same reason with regard to Part D.

    So if these twin bills leave Medicaid and Medicare in place, this is not true single-payer and also will discriminate and exploit millions of Americans.

    Obamacare definately discriminates and exploits as does the MA plan – the latter is not working well although politicians would like you believe that it is very popular in MA and the nth wonder of the world. That is merely political posturing. When the MA plan was implemented, there were 10 percent uninsured in this small state – at best, 5 percent are now covered – maybe a tad more but never consistently b/c the number of disenrollments outpaces the enrollments in the subsidized and Connector discount plans. This clearly shows that the plans are not affordable as people must drop the coverage to pay for a car repair or increased food, heat, etc. Also, many who are in the cheapest gov’t approved plan (Bronze) have difficulty paying the monthly premium and can’t afford to use the insurance.

    So don’t believe the pundits and politicians – talk to the people on the ground who have to live under this mandate – constantly watching that their incomes don’t increase so their premiums or penalties won’t increase or having to intentionally lower their incomes to get a cheaper plan or cheaper penalties.

    Important to understand the MA plan/Obamacare (the MA plan on steroids) in order to compare the twin bills in the event the latter are not true single-payer.

    I will not vote for a Democrat after what took place during the nat’l so-called health care reform debate followed by reconcilation. The talking points were vague and mostly bogus – no details were given, and the devil is in the details. We in MA know the details but no politician had the guts to come forward in spite of the valiant efforts of many in MA who wanted the truth told.

    As for voting for Obama – he’s included in what I said above. He never intended to put single-payer on the table. There are no excuses. I did not vote for him b/c I heard his rhetoric during the campaign change from how the people in MA were worse off than before b/c they had to pay penalties but still had no insurance to the Medicare-like option which was totally bogus (public option) and then to what is now the law of the land.

    Nuff said. Good luck to all of you and to all sick people in this country and those who may become ill. You will probably have to move to another country like France or Thailand to get care.

    I will be pleasantly surprised if true single-payer happens so every American, including me – currently uninsured – can have access to quality, affordable care with uniform benefits for all.



  23. Dianne Bridges on May 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Need to clarify:

    In my previous post above I said:

    Medicare as it now stands, is quite expensive for seniors on a fixed income who do have some moderate savings (which they need to pay their heat, food, property taxes, etc which continue to increase).

    I forgot to say that the catagory of seniors mentioned are not eligible for help paying for Part B or Part D b/c their savings exceeds the amount allowed to be eligible for help but they don’t have enough savings to pay for Part B or Part D or both and also pay the increase in food, heat, property taxes, gas, etc.

    These are the folks for whom Medicare does not work, and they are left wondering what they paid for out of their salaries (Medicare tax) all these years. Self-employed paid double so lost out even more.



  24. Teresa Fry on May 12, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    We have to do this, we just have to. I’m just afraid the insurance companies will continue to successfully bribe the congress to block the effort.



    • Louis Peter on May 12, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      If we tell the politicians that we won’t vote for them there is no
      lobby or special interest that will save them!
      They have to be in office first to do good or bad…
      no votes = no job!
      we have to let them know what the people want!



  25. TerryFlowers on May 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I have been promoting this for over two years. It’s about time single payer or Medicare for All was considered by Congress. It is the fiscally and morally responsible solution to our nations’ healthcare challenges. See http://www.pnhp.org and http://www.madashelldoctors.com and http://www.terryflowersblog.wordpress.com and many other such sites.



  26. Linda J on May 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Our local public radio station announced this as mcdermott’s “annual introduction” of a single payer bill. He voted for Obamacare. He didn’t really try to get single payer.

    I’ve been disappointed too many times to believe this means anything. I don’t know where all the cheerleaders above were when we actually had a chance for this (before Obamacare was pushed through by the Dems, including McDermott).

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.



    • Louis Peter on May 12, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      Hardly anybody listens to public radio anymore, it’s too “intellectual”
      We have to go after the commercial media outlets, talkradio, TV shows
      and the like.
      People need to be bombarded with information on this!



    • Gail on May 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

      I was there during the Obamacare hustle, walking the streets in my neighborhood, encouraging people to support H.R. 676, explaining what was wrong (even as things got “wronger”) with the Affordable Health Care Act, explaining what was wrong with the rhetoric which, although targeted at the Affordable Health Care Act, was actually targeted at the idea of health care as a right and coming from the pockets of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. I was there writing letters of support to Rep. Weiner, watching his last big push for single payer on 7/31/09, hearing him push Speaker Pelosi to introduce the bill on the floor, rallying my own reps. and sens. and writing Obama about how wrong headed and wrong spirited his “bi-partisan effort” was. I was there at our local town hall meeting with my rep trying to come to some kind of consensus with a lot of misinformed, angry seniors (I’m also a “senior”, although not yet on Medicare) who didn’t understand what the real issues were and, at the same time, letting my rep know where I stood. I was also there writing angry letters when single payer was shot down in the House a month and some change later and everyone decided to push the Affordable Health Care Act forward, writing letters of disappointment to everyone who switched allegiance from single payer to the Affordable Health Care Act and encouraging others in my area to do the same. That’s how I know where all the information is; that’s how I learned how to read bills and understand what they say. And, yes, I was so disappointed I cried when I realized, on the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act, that everything I did was in vain, especially since, in my neighborhood canvasses, I realized that the grassroots support was clearly for single payer when the issues were explained face to face, EVEN IN AN AREA THAT LOCALS LIKE TO THINK IS REDDER THAN RED. After the Affordable Health Care Act passed, I was there, when Obama announced that he wanted to hear from anyone with a better plan, to remind him of H.R. 676. I’ve been there every time Brewer (I’m in Arizona) defies the idea of public health care and cuts what we already have in place; my demographic, unfortunately, was completely cut out of public health care with the stroke of a pen. I’ve been there, consistently, ragging on the supposedly “left wing” media pundits when they praised the Affordable Health Care Act; I’ve been shocked and dismayed at how even supposed supporters of single payer have rallied behind the Affordable Health Care Act as “a good start” and “better than nothing” and talk about how the Civil Rights Act was strengthened with further amendments and bills after its passage. I wince every time one of them calls the passage of that bill a victory for the United States. It isn’t. It’s a victory for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and further tweaking has, so far, only weakened the bill’s commitment to the measly health care it’s purported to offer. And, yes, I know our efforts didn’t work then…I know MY efforts didn’t work then. I also know that it’s likely that many of the people commenting here probably also expended effort on behalf of single payer…otherwise, how would they know about this site? Why would they be receiving the email announcement that brought them to this story?
      The thing to remember about Congress is that nothing is ever over with the passage of a bill. Look at the gutting of decades old financial regulations that left us at the mercy of the financial sector. NOTHING IS EVER OVER IN CONGRESS.
      I wish I understood why the stripping of union rights and the possibility of ending Medicare, this spring, caused so much general uproar but the stripping of a citizen’s right to health care in the name of “The Affordable Health Care Act” in 2009 didn’t. We need strategists to analyze this problem and figure out better ways to mobilize large numbers of people, ways that make people realize they’re being hit where they live, like the stripping union rights and the overturning of Medicare are doing, and maybe, this time, a huge number of us will realize that the U.S. still doesn’t have what the entire rest of the developed world and a considerable swath of the developing world recognizes is decent, reasonable and, yes, affordable: Universal Single Payer Health Care. I don’t yet know what the answers are, but I do know that giving up isn’t one of them.



      • Katie on May 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm

        Gail – Thank you for your work and dedication to this issue. We know that have to keep fighting, and when our people’s movement is strong enough, we will win this right to health care and so many other important struggles we currently face. Thank you for not giving up, and for all you do.



  27. Louis Peter on May 12, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Fellow citizens
    If we have true Universal Healthcare we won’t need Medicare and Madicaid anymore with all the stupid and incomprehensible by-laws…
    We probably won’t even need special veteran’s programs
    Everybody will have the same access and care.
    A simple graduated payroll tax for healthcare for everyone will take care of the costs.
    Can’t we just look at how other countries are doing this successfully?
    Ahhhh, I forgot: the US is the greatest Country On Earth and we have the best solution for everything….
    I still don’t want illegal aliens to be included, “anchor babies” and all…



    • Louis Peter on May 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm

      Where are all the other politicians, especially the Dems commenting on this?
      Everybody should be screaming and yelling and demonstrating on the streets to demand change or else!
      There is no single more important issue facing this country right now
      Where is all the lazy and complacent and ignorant Press and TV news?
      A lot of people out there need to be informed and educated so we don’t have a repeat of 2010!
      Everybody contact your local news media and demand that they do their job! Osama Bin Laden is gone, let’s get on to something that really matters!
      I have already contacted most San Diego news media, going to contact
      CNN and MSNBC too, then the rest of the nitwits



  28. Dusty Putorium on May 13, 2011 at 9:27 am

    GO SANDERS keep fighting for us the middle class. As a retired RN and former Republican for 50 years now Independent, I want Universal health care for this country? It can be done with clinics set up? Today I go to the doctor for my yearly to continue my one med at age 68 and yes I thank God for this and my present health? I will see a PA not a doctor for about 15 min. get my RX and leave and get yearly lab? My one visit they will charge $120 and my backup to Medicare I pay extra for will pay $80 for 15 min? If there was a clinic set up for just having to get refills and maybe do a ck up every other year? So many things to cut bk on what is being paid to Medicare? I will have to go bk and get lab results even if okay and still get charged again? One doctor I went to would just call and say if lab okay and no return? Most today with gas food increase cost etc. can barely afford their health insurance? Try losing a job and not have coverage the cost is prohibitive to pay on your own with no pay ck coming in? We are a rich country overall and health care is like the oil companies they charge whatever they want to make big profits and so much greed I saw this year after year? Back up this plan it can work. Took 50 years but now I realize I supported a party the Republicans who do not care for us the average middle class? Sorry!



  29. Caryl Zook on May 13, 2011 at 10:00 am

    BERNIE SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT! for an end to corporate owned politics!



  30. Walter Wilde on May 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Go Maine!!! Thanks for leading the way on real healthcare reform. With a few good examples, I’m sure the rest of the country will follow. Maine and California seem to be stepping into that leadership role. I applaud both. Hopefully we can get this ridiculous healthcare (profitcare) situation turned around.



  31. Mike Pollock on May 13, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    My Wife was diagnosed with a malignant Brain tumor and suffered two massive strokes. I tell the story of my battle to save her life in my book From Death’s Door to Disney World ( Infinity Publishing,buybooksontheweb.com). The insurance Company wanted her to die. Today we have a great life together. Thank you Sen Sanders & Rep. McDermott for fighting against the immorality of our non existent Health Care system. Ultimatly it was medicare & medicaid that saved her life.