AHF Praises Senator Bernie Sanders, Senate Colleagues on Introduction of ‘Medicare For All’ Legislation

In a show of force, 15 fellow Senators co-sponsor the innovative
health care bill

Senator Sanders also recently endorsed the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act
(State Issue 2), a November 2017 ballot issue to compel state agencies
in Ohio to pay no more for their drugs than what the U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) pays for the same medications. The VA receives a
discount—from 20-24 percent off the price the drug companies normally
charge other customers for these same drugs.

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
today praised the introduction of legislation that would make all
Americans and U.S. residents eligible for Medicare.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the bill today as
the prime sponsor along with—and in a show of force—15 co-sponsors
including: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Richard Blumenthal
(D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten
Gillibrand
(D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin
Heinrich
(D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patrick Lahey
(D-VT), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian
Schatz
(D-HI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse
(D-R.I.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). #MedicareForAll

“AHF salutes Senator Sanders for his steadfast leadership in making sure
the patients we care for are guaranteed the quality health care they
deserve. Unless we address the underlying forces that make our health
care system so expensive, such as the enormous administrative overhead
of the health insurance industry and obscene drug prices, we will never
make progress towards the guarantee of health care as a right,” said Michael
Weinstein
, president of AHF.

“The United States spends more per capita on health care than any other
industrialized country in the world. That’s because the U.S. government
allows over 30 percent of health care costs today to go to pay the
insurance industry’s administrative overhead,” said AHF General Counsel
and Chief of Public Affairs Tom Myers.

AHF has been on record in support of expanding Medicare to cover all
U.S. citizens and residents for some time. See AHF’s previous statement
here: https://www.aidshealth.org/#/archives/29419

“As the largest provider of primary HIV care in the world, AHF has
first-hand experience in providing high quality medical and pharmacy
services regardless of the ability to pay. Operating in 40 countries, we
know that the U.S. has the most complicated and expensive health care
system in the world,” said AHF Chief of Medicine Dr. Michael
Wohlfeiler
. “Treatment equals life. Senator Sanders’s Medicare For
All legislation will make sure that people living with HIV will have
access to treatment and not have to pay for exorbitant prices for
life-saving anti-retroviral medication.”

The U.S. Medicare program, which has a 50-year record of success, is now
only available to everyone over 65. This legislation would make
tax-funded healthcare available that is medically necessary including
primary care and prevention, prescription drugs, emergency care,
long-term care, mental health services, dental services and vision care.
Like Medicare, patients would choose from participating physicians and
institutions.

U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan) introduced a similar
measure, H.R. 676, called “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act”
in the U.S. House of Representatives in January.

The program would be funded by taxes replacing insurance premiums. Funds
from existing government sources for health care, increasing personal
income taxes on the top five percent of income earners, a progressive
excise tax on payroll and self-employment income, a tax on unearned
income, and a transaction tax on stock and bond purchases would be
enacted by the legislation. These taxes would be offset by the
elimination of premium payments to health insurance companies. Health
insurers would be prohibited from selling health insurance that
duplicates benefits provided in the legislation. They may sell insurance
for services that are not medically necessary.

“This legislation will help all our patients and it will eliminate
barriers to ending the AIDS epidemic. Everyday support is building in
the U.S. for expanding Medicare. AHF looks forward to the enactment of
this bill into law,” said Myers.

Following is a link to Senator Sanders’ own statement on Medicare For
All:

https://www.sanders.senate.gov/

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
807,000 individuals in 39 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us @aidshealthcare.

Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
DC:
John Hassell,
National Director of Advocacy
cell: (202) 774-4854
john.hassell@aidshealth.org
or
LA:
Ged
Kenslea,
Senior Director, Communications
work: +1.323.308.1833
cell:
+1.323.791.5526
gedk@aidshealth.org