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At the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party meeting on June 15th, 2017, members voted unanimously on a resolution to endorse H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act.”

The bill was first introduced by Michigan’s own 13th District representative John Conyers in 2003 in the House of Representatives. He has re-introduced it subsequently in every session of congress since, and this year has seen an incredible amount of new support. As of today there are 112 co-sponsors, the highest amount of support in the bill’s history and slightly over half of the current Democratic caucus currently serving in the house.

Interest in the bill has been gaining steam thanks in large part to an increasing push from activists and groups like National Nurses United over the last several years, and a significant bump from the 2016 presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders who made it one of his tent-pole issues (and is currently planning to push a similar bill in the senate).

H.R. 676 calls for a single-payer healthcare system wherein there would be government guaranteed free health care for every American. This new system is paid for largely from existing sources of government revenues for health care, increasing personal income taxes on the top 5% of income earners, instituting a progressive excise tax on payroll and self-employment income, and by instituting a small tax on stock and bond transactions. It is estimated that the bill would initially save nearly $350 billion dollars a year in health-care costs, and could potentially reduce federal costs by 40% through free access to preventative care.

Kalamazoo County is represented by Republican Fred Upton, who supported the disastrous American Health Care Act which would have endangered the lives of an estimated 24 million Americans by taking away their health insurance. The aim of the resolution was to stand in solidarity with other counties and representatives in the state supporting H.R. 676 and to align with the vision of the Michigan Democratic Party Platform which calls to “guarantee health-care as a right to every American” and states that “Americans should be able to access coverage through a public option.”

Current Michigan Democrats co-sponsoring the bill are Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-14) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12). Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-5) and Rep. Sander Levin (D-9) have not yet committed to co-sponsoring H.R. 676.

Content written by Andrew Argo