Life&Culture

Merkley signs onto Sanders' Medicare for All bill

Merkley signs onto Sanders' Medicare for All bill

Sen. Cory Booker has signed on for single-payer healthcare, announcing that he will co-sponsor the "Medicare-for-All" health insurance legislation that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), becoming the latest Democrat floated as a 2020 contender to back the legislation.

"We're going to put together a grassroots movement that organizes people in all parts of this country much like we did during the presidential race", Sanders wrote in a fundraising email championing single-payer healthcare in early September.

So far the following Democratic senators have agreed to co-sponsor the bill: Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Jeff Merkley of OR and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

Warren, Sanders, Harris, Booker, and Gillibrand are arguably the most famous and most-admired Democratic senators in the country among the party's base; the betting markets give a 63 percent chance that one of them will be the 2020 nominee for president.

Bilal Sekou- Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Hartford
View Slideshow Bilal Sekou- Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Hartford. Chion Wolf WNPR

Within the past several months, however, so many prominent Democrats have come out in favor of single-payer health care that the bait-and-switch theory is beginning to seem less fanciful. Max Baucus (D-MT) said last week that he also supports a single-payer system. Elizabeth Warren, have said they'll co-sponsor the bill - as have Rhode Island Sen. There are still big fights to be had to create a Democratic Party untethered from lobbying and corporate money - a party more committed to advancing the power of workers and the grass roots. "We make sure that health care is a right for everyone, and not a privilege for a few", Perez said.

A Pew poll in January showed 60 percent of Americans said the government had a responsibility to provide health-care coverage for all, up from 51 percent the year before.

And the way things are going, soon no Democratic leader will be able to oppose single-payer. "It's time to simplify health care and lower patients' costs, and embrace Medicare for All". "I think, right now, he wants to be the rational and reasonable voice of the progressive wing of the Democratic party". In the House, meanwhile, well over 100 Democrats have co-sponsored Rep. John Conyers' "Expanded & Improved Medicare For All bill". 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. Just a year ago, Hillary Clinton dismissed single-payer as "a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass".

Fla. man gets free generator after giving away last one in store
Moments after Brekke broke down in tears, Nancy Alvarez, a reporter for WFTV-TV, captured a Good Samaritan's act of kindness. Santiago couldn't say much to Brekke because of a language barrier, but that didn't stop him from helping someone in need.



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