Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A sign at a February Medicare-for-All rally in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo: Elvert Barnes/flickr/cc)

For First Time Ever, Majority of House Dems Support 'Medicare-for-All' Bill

A record-breaking 104 House Democrats are co-sponsoring a Medicare-for-All bill

Nika Knight

As President Donald Trump and the GOP attempt once again to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a much crueler bill, House Democrats are pushing in the total opposite direction: as of Thursday, a record 104 have signed on to co-sponsor a Medicare-for-All bill.

"Americans are fed up with an inhumane, profit-driven health system that leaves millions without care."
—Dr. Carol Paris, Physicians for a National Health Program

The bill, H.R. 676, known as the "Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act," has been introduced into Congress repeatedly by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). It has now received support from more than half of the Democratic caucus, a record for the party.

"There's more of an appetite for an alternative now," co-sponsor Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) told Vox reporter Jeff Stein last month, when the single payer bill was already gaining significant Democratic support, as Common Dreams reported. "Democrats have a new confidence to push for a single-payer system. The momentum is building."

"Americans are fed up with an inhumane, profit-driven health system that leaves millions without care," said Dr. Carol Paris, president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), in a statement. "Quality health care is not a luxury, nor is it a commodity that can be bought and sold in a marketplace. It is a social good that can be best delivered through a single-payer national health program."

Calls for a more compassionate and fair healthcare system—and unified push-back against the GOP's efforts to dismantle Obamacare—have dominated contentious town halls during the two congressional recesses since Trump's inauguration, and advocates say that such grassroots activism has built crucial momentum behind the movement for Medicare-for-All.

Indeed, Rep. Conyers described a critical moment in one of those town halls—and the impact it had—in an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press earlier this month:

One of the most poignant moments came at a town hall hosted by U.S. Rep. Diane Black, Republican of Tennessee, where a constituent explained her opposition to the GOP bill using faith. As a Christian, she said, her faith was rooted in helping the unfortunate, not cutting taxes on the rich, so why not expand Medicaid and allow everyone to have insurance? And she's not alone. Last week, a Quinnipiac survey found that voters overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Medicaid—74 percent of them—including 54 percent among Republicans.

Given the record high support for publicly funded healthcare, economists, policy experts and commentators everywhere have called on the Democratic party to build on our momentum by supporting a single payer system. But perhaps the most convincing case I heard came from Jessi Bohan, the teacher from Cookeville, Tennessee who spoke at Rep. Black's town hall.

The week after her question went viral she wrote to the Washington Post that she was troubled to see her comments used as a "defense of Obamacare" instead of what they were: an indictment of any healthcare policy that leaves anyone out. As Bohan so eloquently put it, "it is immoral for health care to be a for-profit enterprise" that allows insurance companies to make "enormous sums of money off the sick while people are struggling to pay their medical bills." If she had it to do over again, she wrote, she would have explained to Black "the Christian case for universal, single-payer health insurance, which would protect all Americans."

"While her message was targeted at Republicans, it is one that many of my colleagues in the Democratic Party need to hear as well," Conyers wrote.

Now, it appears that many Democratic representatives are listening. And they should be: multiple polls in recent years have shown that most Americans support a single-payer system.

As Conyers declared in his op-ed: "Single payer is politically achievable."

Still, not all Democrats are on board. Advocacy group Justice Democrats, which has been pushing Democrats to support single payer, recently called out the 89 Democrats who have not yet sponsored Conyer's bill:

"The momentum towards a universal health program is unstoppable," argued Dr. Paris. "Americans of all political stripes are reiterating their long-held support for improved Medicare for all, and Congress has a responsibility to act. We urge all members—including Republicans, whose constituents are demanding a better health care system—to come together and finally enact H.R. 676. Now is the time."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Seniors Would Cross Party Lines to Back Candidates Who Support Medicare Negotiating Drug Prices: Poll

"This poll confirms that high drug prices are a top-of-mind issue for seniors when making voting decisions."

Jake Johnson ·


Groups Welcome Biden Review But Demand Congress Permanently Protect Arctic Refuge From Drilling

Activists urge lawmakers to reverse a relevant 2017 law, "cancel the leases issued by the Trump administration, and shut down this dangerous drilling program once and for all."

Jessica Corbett ·


As US Hits Biden's 70% Vaccination Goal, World's Poor Nations Barely Over 1%

"The longer billions of people remain unvaccinated, the more variants will develop that threaten all of us."

Andrea Germanos ·


'We Are the Owners': Palestinians Refuse to Concede Land Rights to Israelis in Sheikh Jarrah

"The minute we pay rent for our homes, it means we have given up ownership," said one woman who could be expelled to make way for Jewish settlers.

Brett Wilkins ·


'He Should Be Impeached': State Probe Finds Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women

"Andrew Cuomo is unfit to lead and must resign or be removed from office."

Jake Johnson ·