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Phillips Backs Medicare for All

Phillips becomes a leading moderate voice for the landmark health care reform

Washington, D.C., December 20, 2023
Tags: Health

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) signed on to H.R. 3421, Medicare for All. Inspired by conversations with small business owners and Minnesotans in his Common Ground Workshops, the move makes Phillips one of the leading moderate voices backing the legislation within the democratic party. 

“We don’t have a health care system, we have a sick-care system,” said Phillips. “Representation begins with listening, and I am sick and tired of hearing from hardworking Americans who are choosing between feeding their families and filling prescriptions, from business owners who can’t afford to provide basic benefits to their employees, and from health care providers who are overburdened by pay-for-procedure paperwork.  

Medicare for All isn’t just the right decision, it’s the pragmatic and financially sound one. The money is already in the system- we just need to spend it on people, not profits. Americans are begging us to bring their health care costs down and outcomes up, and I’m grateful to Rep. Pramila Jayapal for her leadership on this transformational path forward.” 

The move by Phillips comes after years of conversations with Minnesotans in his Common Ground Workshops, a series of intimate small group conversations evenly split between liberals and conservatives. The moderated discussions focus on how lived experiences inform individuals’ policy perspectives, especially when it comes to health care. In those conversations, and by sharing his own story about caring for his daughter during her battle with childhood cancer, Phillips has observed remarkable agreement across the political spectrum when it comes to Minnesotans’ dissatisfaction with – and prescription for improving – health care in America. 

Phillips, an entrepreneur and Vice Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee, served for six years on the Board of Directors at Allina Health, a not-for-profit community health provider in Minnesota, before coming to Congress. Named Chairman of the Board in 2009, Phillips advocated for a care model that rewarded prevention and outcomes over procedures - keeping patients healthy and stretching health care dollars more effectively.  

Now, he brings the same business acumen to his push for transformational health care policy. Americans owe more than $195 billion in medical debt, money that could be recirculating and bolstering our economy. Furthermore, the massive burden of saddling small business owners and workers with health insurance costs is stifling innovation and killing competition by tying Americans to their jobs for fear they will lose access to medical care. 

Phillips first took the oath of office in 2019 with a mandate from his constituents to defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and curb high prescription drug costs. His support for Medicare for All is the culmination of five years of listening and legislative efforts aimed at health improving outcomes and care more accessible and affordable for Americans, including:  

  • April 2019: Phillips cosponsored the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act (Pallone, D-NJ) which would enshrine many of the ACA protections that had been threatened by the Trump Administration. 

  • July 2020: Phillips cosponsored the State Public Option Act (Lujan, D-NM) a public option which would allow every American to buy government sponsored health insurance through their state’s Medicaid Plan. 

  • September 2021: Phillips cosponsored the Improving Medicare Coverage Act (Jayapal, D-WA) which would lower the age of eligibility from 65 to 60.    

  • June 2022: Phillips cosponsored the State Based Universal Coverage Act (Khanna, D-CA) which would create a pathway to single payer by giving states access to their federal healthcare funding streams as well as the regulatory flexibility needed to create a state-based single payer system. 

  • August 2022: Phillips voted for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA strengthened Medicare by capping out of pocket spending for beneficiaries and allowing HHS to directly negotiate prices for the most expensive pharmaceuticals.