While Democrats lean toward Sanders’s single payer system, Republicans oppose the measure.
Fifteen Democratic senators have shown their interest in a single payer health-care system through widespread Medicare expansion. This represents a considerable shift among Democrats, who have previously seen this type of strategy as politically perilous.
Until now, most lawmakers have avoided this type of concept like the plague, but this seems to have changed.
Senate Democrats have co-sponsored a measure Senator Bernie Sanders (VT – Independent) proposed yesterday. It was created for broad Medicare expansion in order to provide health coverage for all Americans. This is a massive change in the tone for the Democratic party. In 2013, Sanders, who would go on to lose his party’s presidential nomination to Hilary Clinton in 2016, proposed a similar concept. At that time, he wasn’t able to draw a single co-sponsor from among the Democrats. Now, he has 15 co-sponsors as the party takes a new look at this form of single payer health care coverage.
New support for Medicare expansion and single payer has arrived following recent Republican overhaul efforts.
In July, the Republican-controlled Senate failed to move forward with a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That said, it missed its mark by only one vote. Lawmakers were concerned that the proposed ACA repeal would collapse the health insurance marketplaces, which would have been left without federal and state government support.
Even though Sanders’s measure now has support from a number of senators, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a hope of being passed. The importance here is in the shifting attitude toward single payer health care. After all, the Congress remains primarily Republican turf and the GOP is thoroughly opposed to this type of health insurance coverage.
A number of Democrat senators have shown that they are viewing Sanders’s measure not as the ideal solution to the current struggles, but that Medicare expansion to the point of becoming a single payer system is one possibility among many that should be considered. “The principle that I support is universal, accessible, affordable quality health care for all, and I think the single payer system is a strong articulation of the principle,” said bill co-sponsor Senator Mazie Hirono (HI-D).