On May 10, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation to provide health care for every American through a Medicare-for-all type single-payer system. Represenative Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) filed a companion bill in the House to provide better care for more patients at less cost by eliminating the middle-man role played by private insurance companies that rake off billions of dollars in profits. Both bills are called the American Health Security Act of 2011 (H.R.1200 and S.915) and would provide federal guidelines and strong minimum standards for states to administer single-payer health care programs.
Despite corporate scare tactics, Medicare-for-all is still alive. It came close to passing in California and will probably pass in Vermont. With steady progressive pressure from the left, both inside and outside of Congress, and the courage to stand up to, and counter, the intimidation and misinformation efforts of corporations and corporate friendly politicians, there may be a chance, down the road, for the United States to join the rest of the industrialized world in providing a single payer health care delivery system.