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Sanders Amendment to Create a Universal, Single Payer Health Insurance System

From the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders

Summary: This amendment would establish a single payer health insurance system that would cover every person legally residing in the United States.  The single payer system would be regulated and funded by the federal government through a payroll tax and an income tax, but it would be administered by the states.  It would replace the coverage and revenue titles of the current bill, but it would leave in place most of the provisions in the quality, prevention, and workforce titles of the bill.  This amendment starts from the premise that health care is a human right, and that every citizen, rich or poor, should have access to health care, just as every citizen has access to the fire department, the police, or public schools.

Why is this Important?

  • The United States spends $7,129 per person on health care, which is almost double the amount spent by nearly any other industrialized country.  Despite this fact, we still do not insure all of our citizens.
  • There are currently 46 million Americans without health insurance, 100 million Americans who cannot access dental care, and 60 million Americans who do not have access to primary care.
  • The United States ranks among the lowest of developed countries are far as health outcomes, according to both life expectancy and disease metrics.
  • One reason we spend our money so ineffectively is that there is tremendous waste in our system.  Healthcare providers spend $210 billion on administrative costs, mostly to deal with insurance paperwork, and the ranks of administrative personnel have grown by 25 times the number of physicians in the past 30 years.
  • This waste and the high costs of insurance associated with it place a tremendous burden on American employers and makes it difficult for them to compete internationally.

Why Support the Sanders Single Payer Amendment?            

  • Single payer systems have consistently shown lower administrative costs and higher quality health outcomes.  For example, as compared to the United States’ per capita health spending of $7,129, Canada spends $3,895 and Austria spends $3,763 on health care costs.  Both of these countries have higher quality health care outcomes than the United States.
  • By creating a single payer, Medicare-for-all type system, this amendment would provide every United States citizen with comprehensive health care and dental coverage in a cost-effective manner. It would save our country money, improve our health outcomes, and, at the same time, fulfill the administration’s promise of universal coverage.

Cost: This amendment pays for itself through progressive payroll and income taxes.