March 01, 2019

Democrats Release First Medicare For All Proposal

On February 27, 2019, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives released the Medicare for All Act of 2019.  The legislation was introduced by Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) with 106 cosponsors and provides that all Americans would receive comprehensive coverage without premiums.  Most notably, it is a universal single-payer program, which would end employer-sponsored coverage and private insurance, with the exception of supplemental coverage.  Medicare coverage would be expanded to include prescription drugs, dental and vision, and long-term care.  The Secretary of HHS would establish a national fee schedule to pay providers. The transition would occur over a two-year period.  The legislation does not include a funding mechanism, which sponsors said would be released separately.  It also addresses drug prices by permitting Medicare to negotiate with drug makers and to allow for production of a generic drug if a “reasonable” price isn’t agreed upon.  Congressional hearings on Medicare for All are expected to take place in March. Other members of the Democratic caucus are suggesting reforms to improve the ACA.