Rep. Jim McDermott's legislation may enable states to offer single payer healthcare


David Lazarus has a column in the L.A. Times that is very, very, VERY cautiously optimistic about universal coverage making its way to the state level, as long as the federal funding is there. That's a BIG "as long as."

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) is drafting a bill that would make this happen, but you know how those Republicans can get all obstructiony and stuff, which tends to spoil all those legislatively smart options that would benefit so many Americans.

So, because a national Medicare-for-all plan would never make it through Congress, it's up to the states to do their own thing, and McDermott's long shot State-Based Universal Healthcare Act would offer the mechanism for each state to ask for federal funding once they establish their own health care programs:

McDermott's bill ... would allow federal funds for California's 4.5 million Medicare beneficiaries and 8 million Medi-Cal recipients to be pooled with state tax money for universal coverage. [...]

People in a statewide Medicare-for-all program would no longer pay annual premiums, deductibles or co-payments for private health insurance. Instead, they would pay a percentage of their income into the system, just as wages are taxed for Social Security and Medicare. [...]

Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, estimated in a recent paper that a national Medicare-for-all system would cost Americans about $570 billion less annually than the amount spent on private plans.

Moreover, gone would be the problem of private insurers charging higher rates or denying coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions. If you pay taxes in the state, you'd be eligible for coverage.

Also gone would be healthcare as an issue between workers and employers. Businesses would no longer be the primary conduit for health insurance, relieving companies of what has become an increasingly costly obligation.

Does this idea appeal to you? If so, you can email McDermott at his website and let him know. He could use the support and encouragement, which is why Lazarus provided the link.

You can read more here.