Sanders Pushes Dems Left With Reintroduction Of Medicare-For-All Plan

Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from Vermont, discusses Medicare for All legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2017. The former US presidential hopeful introduced a plan for government-sponsored universal health care, a notion long shunned in America that has newly gained traction among rising-star Democrats. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from Vermont, discusses Medicare for All legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2017. The former US presidential hopeful introduced a plan for government... Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from Vermont, discusses Medicare for All legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2017. The former US presidential hopeful introduced a plan for government-sponsored universal health care, a notion long shunned in America that has newly gained traction among rising-star Democrats. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled a Medicare-for-all plan on Wednesday that’s even more expansive than his previous proposal, which emerged as a key flashpoint in the Democratic primary field.

Flanked by members of National Nurses United, a union that backed his 2016 campaign, as well as a number of other Democratic senators, Sanders proposed a new plan that would dramatically expand Medicare while eliminating private healthcare plans.

“Together from coast to coast we’re going to roll up our sleeves, we’re going to to take on the insurance companies, we’re going to take on the drug companies, and we’re going to fulfill…  the American dream,” Sanders said at the event after calling access to healthcare “a human right, not a privilege.”

Democrats who hope to beat Sanders for the nomination have felt the need to embrace the plan, even as they’ve sought to make clear it’s just one of the options they’d consider.

Four of Sanders’ 2020 primary rivals are cosponsors of this bill, as they were on his last one: Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Gillibrand appeared with Sanders at the event.

Booker framed it as more of an ultimate ideal than a likely piece of legislation that could become law during a Wednesday morning radio interview.

“Anybody who says…’Medicare for All,’ who’s running for president, the next thing out of their mouth should be talking to people about, in a split Congress, what are you going to actually do in your first year to make healthcare more accessible and affordable,

Warren said last month that there were “a lot of different pathways” to universal coverage that she could support, not just this one.

Medicare for all had been polling well, but in recent months it’s dipped — and in polls that explain that the proposal would eliminate private plans Medicare-for-All is generally underwater. Conversely, Democratic plans backed by some of Sanders’ more moderate rivals, which would allow Americans the option to join Medicare or stay on their own healthcare plans, have polled better with general-election voters. As President Trump has increasingly attacked Democrats for “socialism,” others in the party have grown nervous that this plan could be politically problematic in the general election.

But it remains very popular with a major chunk of the Democratic base — especially the voters already backing Sanders.

National Nurses United co-president Deborah Burger described the bill as “a clear sign that guaranteed care, real healthcare for every resident of this country, not just insurance that tens of millions of people can’t afford, is coming.”

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Notable Replies

  1. This only pushes Democrats left if we go there.

    My own preference is for a Medicare buy-in that let’s people keep private insurance. If private insurance can compete on a level playing field with Medicare, so much the better. (I very much doubt that it can, but maybe I’m wrong.) Private insurance could be a check on public programs which, let us admit it, are not always all that they could or should be.

  2. I expected this.

    Sanders has to somehow deflect attention from the realization that he, in fact, will NOT be releasing his tax returns any time soon.

  3. Sanders???

    Meh. He’s now millionaire from books sales. Just running to write his next book and make a few more millions while he can.

    But now for some BREAKING not NEWS!!!

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The shakeup in the Trump Administration continued on Wednesday as Donald Trump named a fellow television personality, Lori Loughlin, to be the new Secretary of Education.
    In making the announcement, Trump praised Loughlin for her “disruptive approach” to college admissions and expressed hope that she could bring the same brand of innovative thinking to the Department of Education.

    tRump Cans DEVos

  4. Four of Sanders’ 2020 primary rivals are cosponsors of this bill, as they were on his last one: Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Gillibrand appeared with Sanders at the event.

    IMO, this is a bad move. These candidates are signing onto something they can’t defend properly. I understand that Booker is going on the stump and framing it as an “ideal” which is what he should do. But signing onto this thing will force them to defend it under media scrutiny. The media is going to move in the direction of “Dems want socialism.” We know that that’s absurd but I don’t know if the Dem frontrunners can fight their way successfully out of that bag. And I’m convinced that many more Americans will take the side of the media regarding “socialism.”

  5. Is there a link somewhere with details of what he’s actually proposing? And more importantly, how he’s planning to pay for it?

    It’s disappointing to me that Harris is on board with this. As the TPM article states, M4A polls “underwater” when people learn what it actually would require. Bernie will hand-wave the enormous costs and taxation requirements, I’m sure. Doctors and hospitals will fight this tooth and nail because it will very likely reduce their income. We just don’t need this kind of headwind in a must-win election cycle.

    While we wait for details, the NYT today has a good rundown on what something like this might actually cost (or save):

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