Fight for Medicare for All, Single-Payer Healthcare

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.

The UE Healthcare Cost Calculator Worksheet is available in several formats: Fillable PDF | Printable PDF | En Español | Interactive Web App

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:

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 »

The Legislation

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.

More Resources

UE Fights for Medicare for All