Jayapal (D): 'It's a Question of When Our Country Has Single-Payer Healthcare'

May 22, 2019

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) said on Wednesday it is "not a question of if," but rather "a question of when" the United States has single-payer healthcare.

"As Chairman Yarmuth (D., Ky.) said in his statement, it's not a question of if, it's a question of when our country has single-payer health care, and I, along with 109 cosponsors now...have introduced a single-payer proposal called the Medicare for All Act of 2019," Jayapal said.

Jayapal admitted earlier this month that her Medicare for All legislation would force about one million individuals employed by private insurance companies out of a job. Her plan would completely eliminate the private health insurance industry, making it illegal for private providers to offer health coverage that "duplicates the benefits" in the taxpayer-funded Medicare-for-All program. Only private health insurance plans that "provide supplemental coverage" would be allowed.

The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58 percent oppose Medicare for all if it would eliminate private health insurance plans, and 60 percent oppose it if it requires higher taxes. Another survey found more than 80 percent of voters oppose eliminating private insurance plans.

Jayapal's bill also contains a provision repealing the Hyde Amendment and requiring Medicare to cover abortions.

A study released by the libertarian Mercatus Center last July found Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) Medicare for All proposal would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over ten years. It would also require more than a "doubling of all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections" to finance the plan.

Democratic presidential candidates have taken various positions on eliminating private health insurance.

After calling for private insurance to be eliminated at a January town hall, Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) suggested earlier this month she did not want to see all private insurance eliminated. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., NY) has argued establishing a buy-in option for Medicare would lead American consumers to forego their private insurance plans. Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio), said last month, however, that people should not be taken off their private health insurance plans "if they enjoy it."

Published under: Health Care , Medicare