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Excerpt: "After Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, the dean of the House of Representatives, resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct last year, the future of his marquee cause - establishing a single-payer universal health care system - became uncertain."

Representative Keith Ellison speaks at a rally on Capitol Hill held by low-wage contract workers in Washington, D.C., November 13, 2014. (photo: Molly Riley/AP)
Representative Keith Ellison speaks at a rally on Capitol Hill held by low-wage contract workers in Washington, D.C., November 13, 2014. (photo: Molly Riley/AP)

With John Conyers's Resignation, Keith Ellison Will Take Ownership of the House Single-Payer Bill

By Zaid Jilani and Ryan Grim, The Intercept

09 March 18


fter Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, the dean of the House of Representatives, resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct last year, the future of his marquee cause — establishing a single-payer universal health care system — became uncertain.

Conyers was the prime author and sponsor of H.R.676, which would improve and expand Medicare to every single American, displacing private health insurance companies. With 121 co-sponsors, it has the backing of the majority of the House Democratic caucus.

On Wednesday, Rep. Keith Ellison, deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, stepped up and asked his colleagues for unanimous consent to replace Conyers as the lead sponsor of the legislation. They granted him permission.

Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, told The Intercept he had spoken ahead of time to Conyers, who gave him his blessing. The Conyers bill, though, is largely a shell, and Ellison said he wants to flesh it out for when it’s re-introduced next time. “We’re constantly going to try to improve the bill, to find way to make it more effective, make it work better,” he said.

“We’re going to listen to the people. We want to drive a lot of discussion. We want to get the 120 who are on the bill to really listen and have folks give them input,” Ellison said. “We want to talk to experts, but we also want to talk to people. So we’re going to improve it based on that. We’re not going to try to impose ideology, we’re going to be pragmatic.”

Under a single-payer health care system, the government would be the primary health insurer of all Americans. Instead of paying premiums, copays, and deductibles to a private plan through an individual market or employer, people would instead pay for insurance through their taxes. Advocates for this system, which is dynamically popular on the left, argue that it would be much more efficient — doctors and hospitals currently have to manage paperwork and billing with hundreds of different health insurers, instead of just one — and would actually save money in the long run. The United States would save about $350 billion in net health care spending by switching to single payer, according to some estimates.

Ellison’s lead on the single-payer bill comes at a time when there is growing momentum for a “Medicare for All” health care system in the Democratic Party. The policy has become a staple of a number of 2018 Democratic campaigns, including both gubernatorial and congressional runs. Despite increasing support for single payer, proponents of the legislation are a far way off from getting the majority they need to pass it in either the House or the Senate.

Last year, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a Senate companion to the House single-payer legislation, earning the support of 15 Senate co-sponsors. In some ways, the Sanders legislation is less ambitious than the House version; unlike H.R. 676, the Sanders bill would not bring everyone into a single payer within a year, it would instead phase in the system over four years. your social media marketing partner


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+4 # Benign Observer 2018-03-09 16:24
Another Intercept article -- thank you!

I really like Zaid Jilani. He used to be a frequent guest on Thom Hartmann's show, but of course that got taken away because Russia.

Those who are supporting this budding censorship, know that it is being used to shut down progressive alternative media. THAT is the danger of getting in bed with the intelligence community.

It's just like the fable about giving the scorpion a lift across the river.
+14 # soularddave 2018-03-09 18:45
Here we go...
Large numbers of Americans know exactly what Medicare is, and they/we speak highly of it, knowing what "health insurance" was. We KNOW MEDICARE works!

Now is the time to share our good fortune with everyone. We get to choose our doctors, treatments, and medicine suppliers, so there's little in the way of a downside. We just have to convince our represenatives and candidates that we want it now, despite where they may be getting their campaign contributions

+7 # JoanF 2018-03-09 18:59
Couldn't be in better hands. Maybe a plan so sensible and beneficial to so many people will get voters attention. We need our population to be more interested in politics, they need to realize how much it affects their lives.
0 # Robbee 2018-03-09 19:23
totally awesome!
0 # Wise woman 2018-03-09 19:38
You know what? Introduce the bill when everyone is satisfied. By that time, the midterms will be over and it will pass. Then all who want it can sign up and the rest of the dumb dumbs can continue to pay for our crappy health care system. Stupid is what stupid does. If you want to pay for health care, do so. Insurance companies are thrilled to take your money.
+11 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-03-09 20:39
Find out where candidates stand on this issue. It is fundamental.
+1 # CenTexDem 2018-03-12 09:52
It is Australia and other advanced nations who have adopted some form of universal health care that have far better health care outcomes than America (and at an annual cost that is more likely to be less than 8% of their nation’s gross national product rather than more than 16% of our nation’s gross national product – saved wealth that needs to be invested in American education, infrastructure, and the kind of public research and development that made it possible for the private sector in our country to further develop such technological advances as the internet, hydraulic fracturing, and weather and communication satellite systems to remain competitive in the world economy and create widespread prosperity for all Americans).
+1 # CenTexDem 2018-03-12 09:54
In 2011 health care expenditures for Australia's universal health care system was only $3,800.00 per person and that in 2011 health care expenditures in the United States was almost $5,000.00 more per person at $8,508.00 per person. According to the Commonwealth Fund in a report entitled “Mirror, Mirror On the Wall - 2014 Update” that draws from data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that the respected chose to post on its website on June 16, 2014, U.S. health care ranked dead last compared to 10 other countries in the following order: United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands tied, New Zealand and Norway (tied), Canada, and then, finally, the United States.
+1 # CenTexDem 2018-03-12 10:00
The United States only ranked 5th on “Timeliness of Care” and ranked dead last on having “Access to Health Care” primarily because of the cost-related problems Americans face that discourage the preventive health care that increases life and decreases health care costs in the long term. Similarly, the United States only ranked 4th in providing “Patient Centered Care” (which includes enabling doctors with far greater “freedom” to properly and adequately treat their patients) and the United States ranked dead last in “Healthy Lives”, including mortality amendable to medical care, infant mortality, and, especially important for senior citizens, healthy life expectancy at age 60. This ranking occurred prior to Obamacare’s first enrollment year of 2014.
+1 # CenTexDem 2018-03-12 10:02
Readers need to remember that the needlessly high monthly premiums of Obamacare are paid by families or employers to private health insurance companies and not to the government and those private health insurance companies would charge even higher premiums for those health care benefits without the taxpayer subsidies of private health insurance companies under Obamacare. Readers also need to remember that those of us who pay taxes (and under Republican tax reform those tax rates are higher on working families than on the passive income of the wealthy) end up paying for those who refuse to pay for adequate health insurance coverage and that that the health insurance coverage provided by employers is paid for by those of us who purchase their services or products such as gasoline at the pump. Finally, readers need to remember that the payroll taxes that would pay for universal health care coverage would nevertheless be significantly less than the cost of health care premiums for private health insurance and the cost of health care, especially prescription drug coverage and eye and dental coverage, to the extent not covered by private health insurance even under Obamacare. Readers need to remember that universal health cares allows small business owners to compete in the world economy and pay better wages or employ more workers.
0 # Wise woman 2018-03-12 22:40
Thank you CDT for providing this statistical analysis on health care costs and outcomes. Since I'm the only one to vote for you, I'm wondering if anyone else has even read your posts. Remaining ignorant of these facts will ensure that we don't get universal coverage any time soon. We will just continue on down the path of bad and worse medical outcomes.

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