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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 15, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 37
AHF praises Sen. Bernie Sanders, Senate colleagues on introduction of 'Medicare for All' legislation
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AHF praises Sen. Bernie Sanders, Senate colleagues on introduction of 'Medicare for All' legislation

In a show of force, 15 fellow senators co-sponsor the innovative health care bill WASHINGTON - The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today praised the introduction of legislation that would make all Americans and US residents eligible for Medicare.

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the bill today as the prime sponsor along with - and in a show of force -15 co-sponsors: Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Patrick Lahey (D-Vt.) Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). #MedicareForAll

'AHF salutes Sen. Sanders for his steadfast leadership in making sure the patients we care for are guaranteed the quality health care they deserve. Unless we address the underlying forces that make our health care system so expensive, such as the enormous administrative overhead of the health insurance industry and obscene drug prices, we will never make progress towards the guarantee of health care as a right,' said Michael Weinstein, president of the AHF.

'The United States spends more per capita on health care than any other industrialized country in the world. That's because the US government allows over 30 percent of health care costs today to go to pay the insurance industry's administrative overhead,' said AHF General Counsel and Chief of Public Affairs Tom Myers.

The AHF has been on record in support of expanding Medicare to cover all US citizens and residents for some time. See AHF's previous statement here: https://www.aidshealth.org/#/archives/29419

'As the largest provider of primary HIV care in the world, the AHF has first-hand experience in providing high-quality medical and pharmacy services regardless of the ability to pay. Operating in 40 countries, we know that the US has the most complicated and expensive health care system in the world,' said AHF Chief of Medicine Dr. Michael Wohlfeiler. 'Treatment equals life. Sen. Sanders' Medicare for All legislation will make sure that people living with HIV will have access to treatment and not have to pay for exorbitant prices for life-saving antiretroviral medication.'

The US Medicare program, which has a 50-year record of success, is now only available to everyone over 65. This legislation would make tax-funded health care available that is medically necessary, including primary care and prevention, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care. Like Medicare, patients would choose from participating physicians and institutions.

US Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced a similar measure, HR 676, called the 'Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act' in the US House of Representatives in January.

The program would be funded by taxes replacing insurance premiums. Funds from existing government sources for health care, increasing personal income taxes on the top five percent of income earners, a progressive excise tax on payroll and self-employment income, a tax on unearned income, and a transaction tax on stock and bond purchases would be enacted by the legislation. These taxes would be offset by the elimination of premium payments to health insurance companies. Health insurers would be prohibited from selling health insurance that duplicates benefits provided in the legislation. They may sell insurance for services that are not medically necessary.

'This legislation will help all our patients, and it will eliminate barriers to ending the AIDS epidemic. Everyday support is building in the US for expanding Medicare. The AHF looks forward to the enactment of this bill into law,' said Myers.

Following is a link to Sen. Sanders' own statement on Medicare For All: https://www.sanders.senate.gov/

Courtesy of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation

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