More Dem senators back Bernie Sanders' single-payer healthcare bill
Sep 13 2017
Jeff Merkley took a trip to Iowa that sparked more talk about his presidential ambitions, and while on the road announced that he will sponsor a "Medicare for All" bill drafted by Sen. This week, Senator Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., and other Senate Democrats plan to offer their solution: a complete Washington takeover of America's health care system. Booker and Gillibrand's endorsements in particular are yet another sign that support for single-payer is likely going to be the standard in 2020, no longer a deviation from the party line. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of NY, are also supporting the bill, according to news reports. While the Vermont independent fell short of wresting the Democratic nomination from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sanders is positioning himself to run again in 2020.
Pelosi made it clear that her distance from the bill, which Sanders expects to unveil with top progressives this week, creating something of a litmus test for Democrats, had little to do with its contents.
The rest of the party is getting on board with single-payer - or "Medicare for all", where the federal government would provide health insurance for every American financed through taxes - as well. While predictably progressive Sens.
Whitehouse is a member of the Senate's health committee.
"What we have right now as a country is where just because of your wealth will depend on whether you have healthcare or not", said Booker, appearing on NJTV, New Jersey's PBS affiliate on Monday.
Still, single-payer is gaining traction among Democrats.
As the Overton window moves on healthcare, Republican moderates will become more convinced of the need to make only moderate reforms to the existing law to blunt the push for single-payer.
The newspaper reported that one union activist, postal worker Mark Sarcone said of Merkley: "I think he's a potential vice president".
"I'll break some news: I intend to co-sponsor the Medicare-for-All bill because it's just the right thing to do", Harris said at a church in Oakland, California, last week.
"You should not be punished because you are working-class or poor and be denied health care". The experience of the last decade - the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the political challenges of its implementation, and the failed Republican effort to repeal it and replace it with a spectacularly unpopular plan moving government out of the business of helping people get coverage - has brought about a new boldness among Democrats.
After former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was selected as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, numerous voters who had backed Sanders in the primary were skeptical of her progressive chops.