Today is an historic day. Along with 15 co-sponsors, I'm proud to be introducing Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care legislation in the U.S. Senate.
Today we begin the struggle to transform our dysfunctional health care system and make health care in the United States a right, not a privilege.
The insurance companies, the drug companies and Wall Street won’t like this legislation. They will try to make words like "NATIONAL HEALTH CARE" sound scary.
They will spend huge amounts of money in lobbying and campaign contributions to defeat this legislation and maintain a system in which they make hundreds of billions a year in profit, while ordinary people suffer.
Enough is enough! Now is the time for us to take them on, join every other industrialized country on earth, and guarantee quality health care to every man, woman and child in our country.
The American people are with us on this issue. They understand that it is absurd that we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other country and that we pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. They also know that we already have a very popular and effective single-payer system in this country. It's called Medicare, and it has succeeded in providing near-universal coverage to Americans over the age of 65. It is time to expand Medicare to all.
Let's be honest. Taking on the medical-industrial-complex won't be easy. These powerful special interests have unlimited sums of money to spend against us, and will have the support of much of the corporate media and the many politicians they helped elect.
The truth is that the only way we will successfully transform our health care system is when we transform our political system. The two struggles go together.
We will succeed when we involve millions of people in unprecedented political activity who are prepared to stand up and fight for a government that represents all of us, not just greedy powerful corporate interests. In other words, we need a political revolution in this country.
Medicare-for-all means that Americans will no longer hesitate about going to the doctor because they can't afford the cost. It will mean that a hospital stay will not bankrupt us or leave us deeply in debt.
It will mean that we can go to any doctor we want, not just the one in our particular plan. It will mean that we will no longer be spending enormous amounts of time filling out complicated forms and arguing with insurance companies as to whether or not we have the coverage we paid for. It will mean that we will be able to get the prescription drugs we need at a price we can afford. It will mean that middle class families will not have to spend 20 or 30 percent of their incomes on health care.
At a time when we have hundreds of separate individual health care plans a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care system would save many billions a year in administrative costs. It would allow our businesses to be able to better compete against companies around the world who don't have to worry about the cost of providing health care to their employees. It would mean that workers will no longer have to stay in jobs they dislike, simply because they receive decent health care benefits.
The time is now to address one of the great crises our nation faces. It is not acceptable that 28 million Americans have no health insurance and that even more are under-insured with high co-payments and deductibles. The time is now for a Medicare-for-All, single-payer system. Health care must be a right, not a privilege.