Rep. Morales, Sen. Bell call for passage of ‘Medicare for All’
STATE HOUSE – Joined by advocates at a State House event today, Rep. David Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence) and Sen. Samuel W. Bell (D-Dist. 5, Providence) called for passage of their legislation to establish a statewide universal, comprehensive, affordable single-payer health care insurance program.
“Healthcare is a human right,” said Representative Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence). “It should not be exclusive, expensive or accessible only to the fortunate. Despite our country’s wealth, thousands of working people and families lack the medical care and treatment they need. For too long, we’ve accepted the ineffective status quo and all the harm it has caused to Rhode Islanders. It is time we radically transform our health care system and establish a single-payer Medicare-for-all health care system that guarantees comprehensive health care coverage to all Rhode Islanders free of out-of-pocket expenses or co-payments, regardless of socioeconomic status.”
Said Senator Bell (D-Dist. 5, Providence), “The resources that we currently invest in health care are all too often being hoarded by the for-profit entities involved in this broken system, creating inflated costs and placing care out of reach for many. We need a bold shakeup that uses our health resources for health, not corporate profits. With our small size and compactness, Rhode Island could effectively provide fertile ground for the growth of a more efficient way to fund and deliver health care.
Representative Morales and Senator Bell are sponsoring legislation (2022-H 8119, 2022-S 2769) to create a “Medicare-for-all”-style single-payer program that would replace multiple “middlemen” insurers with a single coverage provider, the Rhode Island Comprehensive Health Insurance Program (RICHIP).
The program would be funded by consolidating government and private payments to multiple insurance carriers into a more economical and efficient single-payer program and would replace high health insurance premiums, copays, deductibles and with progressive taxes on large businesses and federal reimbursements.
The single payer program is designed to allow a majority of Rhode Islanders to pay less for health insurance and all Rhode Islanders to have access to comprehensive coverage that includes medical, dental, vision, mental health care as well as lower-priced prescription drugs.
The legislation is supported by Physicians for a National Health Program Rhode Island and the Providence Democratic Socialists of America.
“Canada’s single-payer program began in 1962, in the province of Saskatchewan, which is approximately the same size as Rhode Island. It was so successful, it became a national program within 10 years and continues to be successful today, with better outcomes and lower costs than the U.S.,” said Dr. J. Mark Ryan, chairman of the Rhode Island chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. “Support for single payer extends across the state and includes businesses, unions and community organizations. Rhode Island can lead the way to a better health care system in the United States.”
“We can’t afford to wait any longer for free, comprehensive health care that isn’t tied to employment. Rhode Islanders should be able to live comfortably, creatively and happily without the threat of medical debt hanging over our heads. This is long overdue,” said Meg Lynch, co-chair of the Providence Democratic Socialists of America Medicare-for-All working group.