Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) recently introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would make health care a right for all American citizens.
The Health Care for All Amendment, H.J. Res. 17, is currently co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI-02) and states “health care, including care to prevent and treat illness, is the right of the people and necessary to ensure the strength of the nation.”
“The Congress shall have power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation,” the amendment states.
In a press release announcing the amendment, McCollum bashed “the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans” for “actively and intentionally sabotaging our health care system,” while stating that “pharmaceutical companies are gouging consumers to extract huge profits.”
“Strengthening the Affordable Care Act, expanding federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, protecting women’s reproductive rights, and working to build a system of universal health coverage are some of the steps Congress must take to ensure that the American people have the assurance and stability they deserve when it comes to receiving health care,” McCollum said.
She went on to lament the treatment of health care as “a commodity driven by profit” that should not have to “be restricted or rationed according to one’s ability to pay.”
“The leading cause of bankruptcy in America is medical debt. Skyrocketing prescription drug costs, legal threats to the ACA, and rising premiums are only making this problem worse,” she continues.
McCollum concludes by stating that she “strongly” believes “health care is a fundamental right that must be enshrined into the U.S. Constitution.”
The amendment is mostly symbolic and unlikely to go anywhere, since it would require two-thirds passage by the House and Senate, and then ratification by three-fourths of the states. It does, however, reflect the growing position of the Democratic Party, especially in Minnesota.
On Friday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) spoke at a press conference about prescription drug prices where she reiterated her belief “that health care is a basic human right.”
“This is just the first step. I will fight for a Medicare for All single-payer health care system to guarantee quality health care for all Americans,” she said.
Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) campaigned on a platform that claimed “health care is your right,” and said he believes that “a single payer type system is on Minnesota’s horizon.” Early on in his campaign, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN-03) said he believes health care is a “moral right.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Betty McCollum” by Betty McCollum.
Background Photo “Hospital” by McGhiever. CC BY-SA 4.0.