Coalition of Local Progressive Groups Call on Rep. Norcross to Support Medicare for All
Cherry Hill, NJ – On March 17, 2021, Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R. 1976). For many suffering families across the country, the timeliness of this bill could not be more urgent.
Understanding this urgency, a coalition of progressive organizations within New Jersey’s first congressional district have made this issue an immediate priority and are calling on Representative Donald Norcross to sign the legislation as a co-sponsor. “Medicare For All is the only choice. People over profits” – says Pastor Amir Khan of New Beginnings.
“At few moments in history have we collectively understood the gravity and importance of a well functioning, universal healthcare system. We cannot afford to let profiteers keep control of our healthcare any longer. This is a heavily Democratic district. If Rep. Norcross isn’t going to lead on this issue, the left will find it easy to unify to challenge him in the years to come,” said Sue Altman of the NJ Working Families Alliance.
Mario De Santis, lead organizer with Our Revolution Gloucester County added, “Well before the pandemic, our for-profit healthcare system was characterized by GoFundMe campaigns, medical bankruptcies, and deaths due to rationing medicine and avoiding care due to costs; COVID-19 has only exacerbated these injustices. Any reform that does not permanently guarantee healthcare as a human right is inadequate.”
If passed, the legislation would expand the existing Medicare system and provide comprehensive healthcare coverage and services including primary care, hospital and outpatient care, dental, vision, audiology, women’s reproductive health services, maternity and newborn care, long-term services and supports, prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse treatment, laboratory and diagnostic services, and ambulatory services. Patients would maintain the freedom to choose the doctors, hospitals, and other providers they prefer, and the legislation would eliminate insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles—no out-of-pocket costs.
Academics suggest that this bill would save 68,000 American lives and save $300-450 billion annually – savings largely due to the reduction in administrative costs and the negotiating power of a Medicare for All system.
Medicare’s negotiating power is exceptionally strong and often outperforms private insurance companies. A Rand (2020) study found that private insurance companies paid 247% more for the exact same medical services than did Medicare. Medicare savings are highlighted in Cooper University Hospital’s charge master – a pricing document which the American Hospital Association sued in 2020 to keep secret. For a dose of decitabine (50mg), Cooper charges the United Healthcare plan $7,469.10, the Oxford plan $2,157.74, while Medicare negotiated $213.00 for the same treatment. For a musculoskeletal system and connective tissue biopsy, Cooper charges the United Healthcare plan $134,480.31, the Oxford plan $125,514.96, while Medicare negotiated $25,257.76 for the same treatment.
Representative Donald Norcross understands the failure of a for-profit healthcare system. On March 17, 2021, he celebrated the bill’s introduction on social media: “The United States is the richest country in the world, but millions of Americans still can’t afford health care. #MedicareForAll will change that – it’s time for a bold change.”
Donald Norcross is right; Medicare for All will change that, and, as he did in 2018 with the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, he can support this reform by signing onto the Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R. 1976) as a co-sponsor.
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The screenshot of Rep. Norcross’ tweet in support of Medicare for All is attached for illustration. The tweet was posted on 3/17/21 but as of today’s date Rep. Norcross hasn’t cosponsored HR 1976 yet.