Ellison to Replace Conyers as Lead Sponsor of House Single Payer Bill

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) will be the new lead sponsor of H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.

Congressman John Conyers, the former lead sponsor, resigned from Congress last year.

HR 676 was modeled after a proposal originally crafted by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

H.R. 676 would improve Medicare’s benefits by covering all medically necessary care, eliminating copayments and deductibles, and expanding Medicare to cover everyone living in the U.S.

The bill now has a record 121 co-sponsors, representing 63 percent of all House Democrats.

And universal health coverage has seen a surge in public support.

A recent poll showed 92 percent of U.S. adults – including 82 percent of Republicans – believe that all Americans should have the right to affordable health care.

But the Non Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC) is at work inside the beltway to derail the single payer will of the people.

PNHP analyzed a recent proposal for universal coverage from the Center for American Progress (CAP), whose funders include profit-based health firms such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Express Scripts, Health Care Service Corporation, and their lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Not surprisingly, CAP’s plan, called “Medicare Extra for All,” preserves a major role for private insurers and for-profit providers, which will inflate patient costs and severely limit the program’s ability to control national health care spending.

“As incrementalist proposals increasingly borrow the language of the single payer movement, many of our friends and colleagues may not understand the important differences between the two,” said PNHP’s President Dr. Carol Paris. “To cut through that noise, PNHP identified three major flaws in the CAP plan that would undermine the success of any national health plan.”

The CAP plan maintains a strong role for private insurance, which adds unmanageable cost and complexity to the health care system.

Because it is a fragmented, multi-payer system, the CAP plan has no power to cut costs through national and regional health planning.

The CAP plan includes significant patient cost sharing, which discourages care, drives up administrative costs, and would leave many middle-class families with worse coverage than they have now.