Conservatives warned that Obamacare would lead to this.. and now we are here.
Numerous Senate Democrats have openly embraced Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” bill. This is legislation that would take the federal program that currently covers health care costs of citizens 65 and over and expand it to all Americans. If such a bill were to pass, the federal government would pay the tab of all medical expenses.
It’s not necessarily the number of Senate Democrats who have come out in support of this bill, but it’s the who. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), among others, have publicly announced support for this legislation.
What do all four of these liberal senators have in common? They are all top contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
These are people who will lead (or already leading) the Democratic Party in the years to come. The fact that they have already announced support for this bill before it’s been formally introduced (the bill drops today) demonstrates how much of a litmus test this will be. Any Democrat wishing to run against single-payer will automatically be branded as too moderate for their party nomination.
Bernie Sanders – a Democratic socialist who refuses to call himself a Democrat – is the sponsor of this bill. After his stunning performance in last year’s Democratic primary, it’s no shocker he returned to the Senate chamber a more powerful man among his caucus. Democrats hoping to run in 2020 don’t want to be outflanked from the left as happened to Hillary last year.
This bill has already gained strong momentum among Democrats despite it only being introduced today (Wednesday). Other, less interesting Democrats have also signaled support for the measure. They include Sens Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI.) and others. Even Sen Jon Tester, who represents the red state of Montana, has expressed mild interest in such an expansion of government into the healthcare realm.
Expect many more to follow the herd.
All the action isn’t only happening in the upper chamber. John Conyers, a Democrat representative from Michigan, has re-introduced a single-payer health care bill that has amassed well over 100 supporters – over half the Democratic caucus stands in approval. Conyers’ bill, a measure he introduces in the House on a perennial basis, enjoys more backing now than it ever has since he began introducing it over 10 years ago.
In other words: single-payer is no longer a sensitive subject for Democrats. It’s now mainstream.
There are, however, still some holdouts within Democratic ranks. After previewing it on Tuesday, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have distanced themselves from Sander’s bill. Pelosi says she wants to focus on protecting Obamacare and Schumer more-or-less waffled by saying “there are many different bills out there” and did not endorse this particular one. The two are official congressional leaders of the Democratic Party – at least on paper.
These Democrats can hold their ground all they want, but the dam has already been flooded within their party.
Like it or not, Republicans are the only ones left to stop socialized health care from washing up on our shores.