Several Senators eyeing potential 2020 presidential runs are lining up behind Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and his latest single-payer health care bill. So far official support has been confirmed from Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). According to Mic, Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), also a potential 2020 candidate, is expected to announce her co-sponsorship of Sanders’ bill. Other senators who either have or are projected to announce their support for the bill are Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
Senator Sanders announced that he would officially introduce his plan on Wednesday. Democrats who plan on challenging Donald Trump in the next election know how contentious the health care debate has become in the United States – the push for single-payer comes in response to the Trump administration’s push to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, which could have left 32 million people uninsured.
Still, The New York Times reports that top Democrats have yet to throw their support behind the bill. Many worry that the idea of a single-payer system is far too radical a pill for Americans to swallow. However, according to a new Pew poll, most Americans agree the government should ensure access to affordable healthcare to all Americans and not just a select few. Over 52% of Democratic respondents back a single-payer system and 12% of Republicans embrace the idea as well.
But, with midterm elections just around the corner, it is doubtful that the bulk of Democrats will agree to get behind Sanders. This is the type of cynicism that makes the United States one of the last developed nations without a universal health care system.