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MI Congressman, Doctors Push Medicare for All

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is among those convinced that a single-payer health-care system is the best solution. (Office of Rep. Conyers)
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is among those convinced that a single-payer health-care system is the best solution. (Office of Rep. Conyers)
March 31, 2017

LANSING, Mich. - A Michigan congressman has proposed a solution to the health-care debate that some physicians believe is a much better alternative than the failed Republican proposal, and also would fix the shortcomings of Obamacare.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced the Medicare for All Act, which would extend and expand the popular single-payer program already in place for those age 65 and older. Glenn Pearson, former president of Physicians for a National Health Program, said a single-payer option would allow President Trump to make good on campaign promise for more coverage and better benefits.

"America is the only wealthy country in the world that has a free market, for-profit system," Pearson said. "It treats health care as a commodity, like buying a TV. In every other country, health care is a human right."

Critics have said the move would be too costly, but independent analysis of similar legislation found that 95 percent of U.S. households would pay less than the current system of insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

Pearson, while not a fan of the ill-fated "Trumpcare" proposal, noted that the Affordable Care Act still leaves many without coverage and channels billions of taxpayer dollars to private insurance companies. He said a majority of Americans, including Republicans, support a system where money currently going to administrative overhead and private profits is spent on patient care instead.

"There would be no deductibles, no co-insurance; there would be very small co-pays," he said, "and so nobody would ever go bankrupt because they became ill."

Even though more people have insurance since the rollout of the ACA, Pearson said, nearly 2 million Americans go bankrupt each year because of health-care expenses. A National Day of Action calling for universal guaranteed health care is set for Saturday, April 8, the first day of the congressional recess.

The Conyers bill's text is online at congress.gov, and an analysis is at pnhp.org.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI