February 27, 2019
House Democrats Unveil Medicare for All Legislation
Today, February 27, House Democrats introduced ‘Medicare for All’ legislation that would provide a blueprint for a government-run single-payer system that would eliminate most private health insurance.
The main sponsor of the bill is Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7), although the bill is co-sponsored by over 100 House Democrats. As a blueprint, it does not provide a plan for the financing of the new system.
The proposal would create a two-year transformation of Medicare into a universal single-payer system, eliminating the age threshold for Medicare eligibility. The plan would expand Medicare coverage to include prescription drugs, dental and vision services, maternal care, and long-term care without charging co-pays, premiums or deductibles.
Recently, members of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Executive Committee (EC) and ASA’s lobbying team met with key Committees and House and Senate leadership staff to discuss Medicare for All. In particular, the EC held extensive discussions with staff of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus – the driving force behind “Medicare for All” regarding the proposal’s reliance on Medicare payment rates.
Medicare payments for services of physician anesthesiologists have long been plagued by inequality and instability. The Medicare “33% problem” has been a persistent challenge by paying anesthesia services at only 33% of private pay rates, the lowest rate among all health professionals, while Medicare payments for other physician services are approximately 75% of commercial pay rates.
The Medicare for All proposal faces steep opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate and White House. ASA will continue to monitor this and other health care related legislation.
Read the text of the bill, H.R. 1384 here.