Long-expected “Medicare-for-all” legislation has been formally introduced in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the Medicare for All Act (H.R. 1384) to make Medicare coverage available to every U.S. resident. The legislation would expand access to Medicare coverage over a two-year period; it would not require beneficiaries to pay out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, co-payments, and premiums.
The legislation is supported by 105 members of the House Democratic caucus.
Health Care Hearings
Meanwhile, Congress continues focusing on rising health care costs and prescription drug prices.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold the second hearing in a series focused on health care costs and access under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The hearing will examine three pieces of legislation that seek to strengthen the ACA by increasing access to affordable health coverage:
- the State Health Care Premium Reduction Act (H.R. 1425), introduced by Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN) and Scott Peters (D-CA), would provide $10 billion annually to states to lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs for consumers who purchase coverage through ACA marketplaces;
- the Expand Navigators’ Resources for Outreach, Learning, and Longevity (ENROLL) Act (H.R. 1386), introduced by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), would provide $100 million annually for work by navigators to promote options and enroll individuals in health coverage; and
- the State Allowance For A Variety of Exchanges (SAVE) Act (H.R. 1385), introduced by Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), would provide $200 million to help states establish and run ACA marketplaces.
The Health Subcommittee’s first hearing in the series, in February, focused on patients with pre-existing conditions. The third has yet to be announced.
The Senate Committee on Aging will hold a two-part hearing this week focusing on drug prices. A March 6 hearing will offer patient perspectives, and a March 7 hearing will focus on expert reactions and policy solutions.
In addition, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will convene a hearing to examine how increased competition could lower drug prices within Medicare.
Other Health Care–Related Hearings
Also this week, the House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law will hold a hearing to scrutinize the impact of consolidation in health care on costs.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold a March 5 hearing on vaccinations and the cause of preventable disease outbreaks. The hearing comes in response to the growing public health threat of measles outbreaks in the United States and follows a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that reviewed responses to the outbreak.
The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a March 6 hearing to examine nursing home safety and oversight.