Bernie Sanders flexes power on single-payer

TheHill | 9/13/2017 | Jessie Hellmann and Rachel Roubein
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When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) last introduced a single-payer bill in 2013, it didn’t attract a single co-sponsor. Now, as he unveils his “Medicare for all” bill on Wednesday, some of the biggest names in the Democratic Party will be by his side.

It’s a vindicating moment for Sanders, who is seen as a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2020.

Vermont - Senator - Bill - Chance - Congress

The Vermont senator’s bill has virtually no chance of passing this Congress, and many Democrats, including members of leadership, remain wary of the idea.

But that doesn’t detract from the scope of his accomplishment. From the start of his insurgent presidential campaign last cycle, Sanders’s goal was to drive Democrats into his camp on health care and other issues — and it’s working, perhaps better than he could have ever imagined.

Primary - Thing - Jonathan - Tasini - Organizer

“I guess this is why the 2016 Democratic primary was a terrific thing,” said Jonathan Tasini, a prominent progressive organizer and former Sanders campaign surrogate.

“Without that primary, ‘Medicare for all’ — the idea that millions of people would have what everyone has around the world — would not be in the conversation.”

Week - Contenders - Sens - Elizabeth - Warren

In the past week, several other potential 2020 contenders, including Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), have embraced Sanders’s bill by signing on as co-sponsors. And it’s not just liberals who are warming to the idea.

Former Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), one of the architects of ObamaCare, had long been critical of single-payer health care. But last week, he said lawmakers should start looking at the idea.

Years - Sanders - President - Press - Conference

Just two years ago, Sanders formally announced he was running for president in a sparsely attended press conference that lasted 10 minutes. At the time, critics derided him as a socialist laughingstock; today, he’s one of the most popular politicians in America, giving him a megaphone to promote his single-payer bill.

(Excerpt) Read more at: TheHill
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