Sanders forces universal health care issue

Posted September 13, 2017

Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), are all reportedly backing Sanders' bill. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in introducing his Medicare for All legislation Wednesday, but a staff email suggests several key aspects of the bill were being debated as recently as August.

Gillibrand, New York's junior senator, plans on being a co-sponsor of the bill, reported Monday. Warren, Harris and Booker are widely considered to be top contenders for the 2020 democratic presidential nomination. Democratic lawmakers working with Sanders' office on the draft legislation were concerned about the bill's reliance on a global budget and capitated payments, "given what Republicans are now doing with per capita caps", according to the email obtained by Inside Health Policy, . It's a reminder of how much the Democratic Party is drifting toward a universe where single-payer health care is the default position.

Democrats are also worrying over whether placating Sanders' far-left, anti-establishment supporters will alienate moderate Democrats to such a degree that it will be impossible to gain congressional majorities in 2018 and the presidency in 2020.

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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. A Pew survey from last June shows only 33% support the idea of single payer.

"Health care should be an American right, not a mark of economic status out of reach to many just because they don't make enough money", Booker wrote on Medium. While predictably progressive Sens. No Democrat would run for president, or even for House or Senate minority leader, without supporting the DREAM Act.

"I don't think it's a litmus test", Pelosi said.

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"That's why I support Medicare for All", which he called "the best way to ensure that every American finally has access to quality, affordable health care".

Other potential Democratic presidential candidates such as California Sen.

That's not to say single-payer isn't gaining support elsewhere in the Senate Democratic caucus. 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.

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The party's more progressive direction is also a result of the hard-fought 2016 primary campaign, which Clinton's book takes needless jabs at; after all, it produced the most progressive Democratic platform in history.