In what’s being described as a “2016 debate changer,” a broad coalition of progressive lawmakers and organizations is launching on Thursday a new push for a national public health insurance option.
With a congressional resolution backed by a grassroots campaign, “this is the most significant healthcare push by Democrats since the passage of Obamacare,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), which is leading a coalition of groups that will engage millions of Americans this week in support of the effort.
The resolution is being led in the Senate by Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), as well as 22 other original co-sponsors. It lays out a clear case for a public option—citing persistent health disparities and 31 million underinsured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as the proven cost-effectiveness of public programs like Medicare—and states:
Resolved, that the Senate supports efforts to build on the Affordable Care Act by ensuring that, in addition to the coverage options provided by private insurers, every American has access to a public health insurance option which, when established, will strengthen competition, improve affordability for families by reducing premiums and increasing choices, and save American taxpayers billions of dollars.