Prominent Democrats refuse to back Bernie Sanders’ single-payer healthcare bill
While Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-V.t.) will unveil his “Medicare for all” bill on Wednesday with much fanfare, several high-profile Democratic leaders have so far refused to support the plan.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declined to join onto Sanders’ single-payer healthcare bill, telling reporters she is instead focused on the continued efforts by Republicans to repeal, or repeal and replace, the Affordable Care Act.
“Right now, I’m protecting the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi said, according to Politico. “None of these other things … can really prevail unless we have the Affordable Care Act.”
Pelosi opted not to join several prominent Democrats in joining Sanders’ bill, which has become something of a litmus test for potential 2020 presidential candidates.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)—all rumored 2020 candidates—and at least 11 others have all said they would back the bill set forth by Sanders.
Meanwhile, some big names like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), former vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-V.A.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have not supported the plan.
Under Sanders’ proposal, Americans would receive a universal Medicare card that would give them access to hospital stays, doctor visits, dental care, and reproductive care, among other basic health services.
Long term care would not be covered under Sanders’ proposal but would be addressed in future legislation, according to CNN.
While Sanders’ bill is not likely to survive in a Republican-held Congress, it does show that lawmakers are heeding the desires of Americans. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 53 percent of Americans support a national health care plan, and a Pew Research Center poll found 60 percent of Americans thought the government had a responsibility to provide healthcare coverage for all.