Letter: Medicare-for-All best health care solution

From: John Keele


In the U.S., all should have health care. In the U.S., all do have health care, but it’s only to the extent of the 1986 law (COBRA) that included the right of all people to emergency care (most hospital emergency rooms) regardless of their ability to pay.

The Affordable Care Act in 2010 with its expanded Medicaid has brought managed health care to millions who could not get it before. From where we are now, the best step forward on health care is to expanded-and-improved-Medicare-for-all, which is contained in House Bill H.R. 676, introduced again in January. This bill establishes health care to all individuals residing in the United States and U.S. territories. Its provisions are: free health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services and vision care.

Employers would be freed from supplying health insurance to employees. Transition costs of implementing House Bill H.R. 676 would include the cost of unemployed insurance and retraining of displaced insurance and provider administrative personnel.

House support of the bill has increased significantly since the first failure of the GOP-proposed “AHCA/repeal ACA” bill; there are now to 99 co-sponsors signed on to┬áHouse Bill H.R. 676.

Health care funding under H.R.676 would be by a progressive system of taxation. For below $225,000 household income it would mainly be by the payroll tax — 3 percent on the lower 40 percent of income earners (incomes under $53,000); and 6 percent on the higher 60 percent of income earners (incomes over $53,000). At $30,000 household income, the tax would be $900; at $100,000 income the tax would be $6,000; at $200,000 income it would be $12,000. The households at all of these income levels would find their total out-of-pocket health care costs being lower than what they are paying today. (At above $225,000 income, the chart I am pulling information from shows that at $463,000 income level, those households would be paying 8 percent more than they are paying today.)

The conclusion by Gerald Friedman, professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amhurst, is: “Improved Medicare for all covers more and will cost less for 95 percent of households than they are paying now. And, it will also reduce the federal deficit by $154 billion in the first year.”

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP.org) supports H.R. 676. Speak to your congressman and senator to do likewise.