Congress must address how Americans are going to pay for pandemic health care. The 30 million workers who have recently lost their jobs—and for many that means their health care—join 89 million already uninsured or underinsured.
In response, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal have introduced the Emergency Health Care Guarantee Act, S-3790 and HR-6906 respectively. It covers all out-of-pocket charges for those with insurance and all charges for those without any coverage. There would be no surprise bills, drugs would be covered and paid for at the same rates as does the VA, and insurance companies couldn’t reduce current coverage.
Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121now and urge them to support the Emergency Health Care Guarantee Act. We need it.
A competing bill that sounds good:
The House included the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act in the HEROES Act which is stalled in the Senate. It would pay the COBRA premiums for people who have lost their jobs and health coverage in the current pandemic. This sounds good, but it’s corporate welfare—hundreds of billions will go to insurance corporations, while the unemployed will still be on the hook for deductibles, copays, out-of-pocket charges, surprise bills, and denied claims. Those already un- or underinsured will remain at risk.
A better bill would cost less:
The conservative Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the Sanders/Jayapal Emergency Health Care Guarantee Act, by allowing Medicare to cover out-of-pocket expenses for everyone, would cost around $150 billion over four months, $400 billion over a year. And it covers those recently unemployed and those already un- and underinsured. It covers everyone, and for less. COBRA bailout costs more: Health Management Associates estimates that subsidizing COBRA premiums would cost $157 billion over four months, $472 billion over a year.
The gold standard for health care reform is spending less to cover everyone for life with better health care. This is Improved Medicare for All. It is also sponsored by Sen. Sanders and Rep. Jayapal, S-1129 and HR-1384. This long term fix attains profound administrative savings and frees providers better to focus on our health.
Let’s choose the health care we all need, not bailouts for corporations and the wealthy few. Call 202-224-3121 now to urge our U.S. Congress members to fight for the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, to deal with the pandemic for now, and Improved Medicare for All to sustain us going forward.
Thank you for supporting this important cause at this critical time.
May our challenges open a pathway to a more just and dependable society for us all.