House Democrats introduced a plan Wednesday to insure all Americans through Medicare, as the push for a sweeping shift to universal health coverage gains more traction ahead of pivotal elections next year.
The "Medicare-for-all" proposal, introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., will face backlash from critics who have warned about its potentially enormous cost — and Republicans who aim to cast Democrats as radicals drifting toward socialism.
Here's what Jayapal's legislation would do:
- It would create a single-payer, government-funded health-care program within two years, eliminating the age 65 threshold for Medicare eligibility.
- It would not charge beneficiaries copays, premiums or deductibles.
- The plan would cover prescription drugs, vision, dental, mental health, substance abuse and maternal care. It would also provide universal coverage for long-term care for people with disabilities.
- The proposal notably does not include methods to pay for the health-care overhaul. Jayapal mentioned higher taxes on the wealthy or contributions from employers as potential ways to fund it.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not endorsed the health-care plan. Numerous Democrats who helped their party flip the House last year by winning ideologically split, GOP-held districts have also distanced themselves from the proposal. A Pelosi spokesman did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether Pelosi will back the legislation or bring it to a vote.