House and Senate ACA-replacement bills propose universal long-term care coverage

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Lawmakers in both houses of Congress have introduced a bill to institute a single-payer healthcare system that would include universal long-term care coverage.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced the “American Health Security Act of 2013” Monday.

The “Medicare-for-all” bill proposes a benefits program that would be administered at the state level and would replace the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces. It would be funded in part by a healthcare income tax on individuals and payroll tax on employers. The program would offer universal coverage, including comprehensive long-term care benefits. Nursing facility, home health, home- and community-based services and hospice benefits would be offered.

The bill is no more likely to gain traction than the dozens of repeal bills that House Republicans have introduced since the ACA became law. Sanders acknowledged this by joking that he expects the bill to be passed and ready for the president's signature when he returns from Nelson Mandela's funeral, The Daily Beast reported.

However, the bill could be a sign of renewed action from single-payer advocates, many of whom were disappointed that it wasn't a part of the healthcare reform law. Sanders was one of these critics, and now his home state of Vermont is planning to roll out a statewide single-payer system in 2015. Single-payer activists hope more states will follow suit if the ACA continues to founder, according to The Daily Beast's David Freedlander.

Click here to access the complete text of the legislation.

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