Updated September 29, 2021
Our health care system fails to provide quality care to every U.S. resident and wastes hundreds of billions of dollars a year in unnecessary administrative costs. The COVID-19 pandemic has only further highlighted the need to completely overhaul U.S. health care. A Medicare for All single-payer system — supported by UE since 1943 — would expand and improve the cost-effective and administratively efficient Medicare program to finance comprehensive, high-quality health care for everybody in the U.S.
Over the course of last two years, UE conducted a “How to Fix Healthcare” workshop with UE members around the country. Part of the workshop includes members filling out a healthcare costs calculator to figure out how much they are already paying for healthcare — and it turns out that many UE members are spending between 15 and 25 percent of their income on healthcare costs, between premium shares, co-pays and deductibles. In addition to the cost, UE members are facing ever-greater limits on when and where they can use their benefits.
Medicare for All would not only save most union members (and other working people) money, it would take healthcare off the bargaining table, where employers regularly hold it over our heads.
Expand and Improve Medicare Now
We have a real opportunity to win serious improvements and expansion of Medicare in the reconciliation package currently being debated in Congress.
Call your Senators and Representatives at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to support Medicare expansion!
While expanding Medicare is not sufficient to solve the health care crisis for working people, it will be a significant victory, and a real advance towards Medicare for All. In fact, we are only in this position due to the hard work of everyone who has been fighting for Medicare for All for years. But there is still a lot of work to make it a reality.
For more information, see the UE Political Action Alert Tell Congress: Expand Medicare Now!.
Resources for Taking Action
The Medicare for All Act of 2021, H.R. 1976, was introduced into Congress on March 17, 2021 by Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell. The bill was co-sponsored by more than half of the House Democratic Caucus, including 14 committee chairs and key members of the Congressional leadership.
Moving this important piece of legislation will require constant pressure from working people:
- Call your member of Congress on the Medicare for All hotline: 202-953-4101. The hotline, established by UE ally National Nurses United, is a quick and easy way to ask your representative to become a cosponsor of the Medicare for All bill.
- NEW: The September 2021 issue of the UE Steward is about how to talk with members about Medicare for All. It includes tips on how to use the UE health care cost calculator to help members understand how Medicare for All would really impact them and their family, a side-by-side comparison of Medicare for All with our current system, and a look at how workers get health care under Canada’s single-payer system. Also available in Spanish
- Sign up for Medicare for All email alerts from UE — we’ll let you know when there are opportunities to take effective action.
- Download a leaflet to pass out in the shop.
- Share this Fact sheet about Medicare for All with your co-workers.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.
- Use our Healthcare Cost Calculator Worksheet to figure out how much you and your coworkers are already paying for healthcare (Updated January 2020): Fillable PDF | Printable PDF | En Español
- Speak Spanish? Volunteer to text in Spanish for Medicare for All!
Congressional Budget Office: Medicare for All Would Reduce Healthcare Costs
On December 10, 2020, the Congressional Budget Office released a new estimate of the cost of Medicare for All, finding that overall health costs would decline between $42 and $743 billion per year. The CBO found that administrative costs under Medicare for All would not only be vastly lower than the costs of our current chaotic “system” of private insurance, they would be even lower than Medicare’s current administrative costs of two percent. Read more »
In March 2021 Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) introduced H.R. 1976, To establish an improved Medicare for All national health insurance program. A companion Senate bill is expected to be introduced soon.
- The bill will guarantee quality, therapeutic care to every person in the United States.
- There will be a comprehensive package of benefits, including primary care, hospital and outpatient services, prescription drugs, dental, vision, audiology, women’s reproductive health services, maternity and newborn care, long-term care services and supports, mental health and substance abuse treatment, laboratory and diagnostic services, ambulatory services and more.
- Patients will have the complete freedom to choose the doctors, hospitals and other providers they wish to see without worrying about whether a provider is “in network.”
- There will be no premiums, no co-pays and no deductibles—and no charges whatsoever at the point of service.
- The bill preserves the ability of veterans to receive their medical benefits and services through the Veterans Administration if they wish, and of Native Americans to receive their medical benefits and services through the Indian Health Service, if they wish.