This morning Dr. Stephanie Kang updated 50 attendees of an OPS 3rd Friday meeting on the status of the Medicare for all Act of 2021 (H.R. 1976) Which was introduced last Wednesday.
Dr. Kang said that the new bill has several improvements over HR 1384. These include improved benefits for workers who will be displaced buy a universal healthcare system, improvements in the global budget concepts, and better preparation for dealing with emergencies such as pandemics.
She acknowledged that equity does not automatically accompany single payer systems, and therefore HR 1976 establishes position of equity officer to guarantee needs are met among populations that are currently marginalized.
HR 1976 does not yet specify needed taxes. Representative Jayapal is working on this. She says that the CBO will study HR 1976 but pointed out that the CBO reports are incomplete in that they don’t take into account certain savings and benefits that would accompany a bill such as HR 1976. Rep. Jayapal is planning to enlist research that could enumerate these benefits and savings.
HR 1976 has 110 cosponsors, constituting about half of the Democrats in Congress. Hearings have been promised by the chairs of the Energy And Commerce Committee, the Small Business Committee, and the Budget Committee. The hearings may not begin until August. Dr. Kang said that a Senate version of the bill will be introduced as well.
Dr. Kang was pleased to see such a the turn out of enthusiastic knowledgeable supporters of Medicare for all.