Padilla Joins Sanders to Introduce Medicare for All￼
In Senate Budget hearing, Padilla highlights urgency to guarantee health care for all
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) joined Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2022 to guarantee health care in the United States as a fundamental human right to all.
“Health care is a human right and it’s past time that we pass Medicare for All to ensure that every American has access to quality, affordable health care, regardless of zip code or tax bracket,” said Senator Padilla. “No American should go bankrupt because of exorbitant medical costs. Congress can and must act to better control health care costs.”
“The American people understand, as I do, that health care is a human right, not a privilege and that we must end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all of its citizens,” said Senator Sanders. “It is not acceptable to me, nor to the American people, that over 70 million people today are either uninsured or underinsured. As we speak, there are millions of people who would like to go to a doctor but cannot afford to do so. This is an outrage. In America, your health and your longevity should not be dependent on your wealth. Health care is a human right that all Americans, regardless of income, are entitled to and they deserve the best health care that our country can provide.”
Padilla is a strong advocate for lowering health care costs for all Americans. Today, Padillaparticipated in a Budget Committee hearing on Medicare for All where he spoke on the importance of universal health coverage in helping level the playing field for communities of color, especially in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also highlighted how Medicare for All can improve access to mental health care.
Today in the United States, 68,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford the health care they desperately need, and millions more suffer unnecessarily because of delayed treatment. About 44 percent of the adult population, some 112 million Americans, are struggling to pay for the medical care they need and over 70 million Americans are uninsured or under-insured because of high deductibles and premiums. In addition, life expectancy in the U.S. is much lower than most other industrialized countries and infant mortality rates are much higher. During the pandemic, the crisis that is the American health care system has only worsened. And yet, the U.S. spends twice as much per capita on health care than virtually any other major nation.
Implemented over a four-year period, the Medicare for All Act of 2022 establishes a federally administered national health insurance program that would ensure quality and comprehensive health care to all. This would include dental care, vision coverage, and hearing aids – with no out-of-pocket expenses, insurance premiums, deductibles, or co-payments – and save middle class families thousands of dollars a year.
This legislation would also create a health care system that finally puts people over profits. Today, as millions of American families face bankruptcy and financial ruin because of the outrageously high cost of health care, the CEOs of 178 major health care companies collectively made $3.2 billion in total compensation in 2020 – up 31 percent from 2019. While nearly one out of four Americans cannot afford the life-saving medicine their doctors prescribe, last year Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AbbVie – three giant pharmaceutical companies – increased their profits by over 90 percent to $54 billion. Meanwhile, the CEOs of just 8 prescription drug companies made $350 million in total compensation in 2020.
However, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Medicare for All would save $650 billion each year, improve the economy, and eliminate all out-of- pocket health care costs. Other studies, such as from experts at Yale University, estimate it could save upwards of $450 billion per year. Even a study done by the right-wing Mercatus Center estimated that Medicare for All would save Americans more than $2 trillion over a decade.
In the U.S. Senate, the legislation is also co-sponsored by Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
The Medicare for All of 2022 has also been endorsed by more than 60 major organizations, including National Nurses United, American Medical Student Association, Nation Union of Health Care Workers, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), Indivisible, Public Citizen, People’s Action, National Immigration Law Center, Center for Popular Democracy, and Working Families Party.
For a summary of the bill, click here.
Read the fact sheet of the bill, click here.