The “Medicare-for-all” style program would provide all Rhode Islanders with
access to high quality and affordable healthcare

Providence – Today, State Representative Aaron Regunberg and State Senator
Jeanine Calkin introduced legislation to provide universal healthcare to
Rhode Islanders. The legislation also seeks to protect Rhode Islanders from
federal attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare and Medicaid,
and repair problems with the current health insurance system.

The legislation proposes a “Medicare-for-all” style program that would
replace multiple “middlemen” insurers with a single coverage provider, the
Rhode Island Comprehensive Health Insurance Program (RICHIP).

“It is past time we recognize healthcare as a right, not a privilege. No
family should have to put off routine care because of the high deductibles,
or suffer through financial disaster because they get a serious illness. We
are seeing real momentum for universal healthcare and it’s time for Rhode
Island to lead the way for the rest of the country,” said Representative
Regunberg.

Representative Regunberg has been a leader in the fight for universal
healthcare since he was first elected to the Rhode Island House of
Representatives and introduced similar legislation last session.

J. Mark Ryan, MD, chair of the RI Chapter of Physicians for a National
Health Program, notes “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 ten years
and continues to be successful today, with better outcomes and lower costs
than the United States. Support for single payer extends across the state
and includes businesses, unions and community organizations. Rhode Island
can lead the way to a better healthcare system in the United States.”

“While it is true that many protections were granted under the Affordable
Care Act, the legislation falls short of providing the level of care
available to all other industrialized societies, that is: guaranteed,
affordable access to healthcare for every person. We are honored to support
Senator Calkin and Representative Regunberg as they strive to achieve
universal healthcare in our state,” said Shawna Rihani the Assistant
Executive Director of Indivisible RI an advocacy organization with over
8,000 members.

The introduction of the legislation was officially announced at a press
conference on Wednesday afternoon and kicked off a day of grassroots
advocacy with Rhode Islanders urging their elected leaders to support
universal healthcare. Under a Medicare-for-all healthcare system Rhode
Islanders would pay less than they are paying now according to Gerald
Friedman, an economics professor at UMass Amherst. A full economic impact
study was conducted on the implementation of a Medicare-for-all style
healthcare system in Rhode Island was conducted by Professor Friedman and
can be viewed here
.