Sen. Bernard Sanders says eliminating private health insurance could cut U.S. health care costs by $400 billion per year.

Sanders, D-Vt., made that prediction earlier this week when he introduced S. 703, the American Health Security Act of 2009.

Sanders wants to replace the current public-private system with a system funded entirely by the federal government and administered by the states.

S. 703 calls for the health care program to provide dental, mental health and prescription drug benefits as well as medical benefits.

The bill would provide funding for the National Health Service Corps to train 24,000 dentists and primary care doctors.

Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., attracted 93 cosponsors for another single-payer bill, H.R. 676, during the previous Congress, Sanders says.

Physicians for a National Health Program, Chicago, is helping to promote S. 703.

Links to the text of the bill and other information about the bill soon will be posted here.