Friday, 22 September, 2017

Whitehouse Latest NE Senator To Join Push For Single-Payer Health Care

Merkley announces he will co-sponsor 'Medicare-for-all' bill Victoria Sarno Jordan
Theodore Harris | 13 September, 2017, 00:06

Obamacare is collapsing and the left has only one idea left. I argued back in July that the biggest victor of the Obamacare repeal debate was single-payer.

"Health care should be a right for every single American, not a privilege reserved for the healthy and the wealthy", Merkley said in a statement explaining his support for the legislation.

Still, single-payer is gaining traction among Democrats. "This is a fight about strategy for getting there".

Pelosi made it clear that her distance from the bill, which Sanders expects to unveil with top progressives this week, creating something of a litmus test for Democrats, had little to do with its contents.

Earlier in the day, Manchin had also expressed uncertainty about a single payer health system, but with less intense rhetoric. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Sanders, who ran his own presidential primary campaign in 2016, also promised health care reform. "But when we talk about Cory Booker here, while he certainly hasn't ruled out running for president, I don't think this is the end game necessarily". The last thing any of them want is to see another candidate get to their left on this, so each of them are quick to go on-record - much quicker than their not-eyeing-2020 colleagues who can afford to be more judicious and deliberate.

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I just think the time has come. It would never have passed. Now is a time, as Sanders said last week, "to look forward and not backward".

That's not to say single-payer isn't gaining support elsewhere in the Senate Democratic caucus. In my judgement, America was just not there. Nevertheless, there are other arguments Republicans will make in opposition that could be persuasive, including that a single payer plan would require a big tax increase, and that it would disrupt the system in ways that might leave some people worse off even if many more people benefit. And he is by no means the only Democrat who ostensibly takes this position. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) have already signed on as co-sponsors, they've been joined by a relatively surprising figure: Sen.

Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a "single payer" approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014. Among Democrats, the notion entices 63 percent support. Democratic activists believe the GOP's failed attempt to repeal Obamacare has strengthened the resolve of the nation's leftists.

Manchin is maybe the least likely Democrat to even flirt with single-payer.

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