WASHINGTON (Reuters)—Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled an ambitious proposal to move all Americans into the government’s Medicare health insurance program, tapping into public frustration over the rising cost of healthcare that has become a key issue for the party as it seeks to gain control of Congress and the White House in 2020.
The bill, unveiled by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash. ) would transition the U.S. healthcare system to a single-payer “Medicare for All” program funded by the government in two years. The legislation is the party’s most high-profile and ambitious single-payer proposal in the new Congress and has more than 100 co-sponsors, many from the party’s progressive flank.
It is unlikely to gain the support of any Republicans in the House or the Senate, who have derided single-payer healthcare as a socialist policy and oppose government interference in healthcare. It also remains unclear whether Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the legislation up for a vote.
“Americans are literally dying because they can’t afford insulin or they can’t get the cancer treatment they need,” Rep. Jayapal said on a call with reporters. “There are some things that should not be provided through the for-profit market.”