Politics Analysis | The dam is now breaking on Democrats’ embrace of single-payer

00:00  12 september  2017
00:00  12 september  2017 Source:   MSN

Sanders single-payer bill poses dilemma for 2020 Dem hopefuls

  Sanders single-payer bill poses dilemma for 2020 Dem hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.)'s Medicare for all plan has become a key test for Democrats with 2020 presidential ambitions. Sanders, who energized liberals with his improbable run at the White House last year, is poised to introduce a long-awaited single-payer bill when Congress returns to Washington this month. The liberal icon insists it's not a litmus test for the Democrats, but he's actively seeking endorsements. Outside liberal groups are watching closely, with some hinging their own endorsements on a candidate's support for the Sanders health-care model. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.

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Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) directs a question beside Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Both are 2020 contenders, and both have now come out in support of single-payer health care legislation.© EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) directs a question beside Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Both are 2020 contenders, and both have now come out in support of single-payer health care legislation.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) became the fourth co-sponsor of Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) “Medicare for all” (a.k.a. single-payer) health-care bill Monday. In doing so, he joined Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).

What do those four senators have in common? Well, they just happen to constitute four  of the eight most likely 2020 Democratic presidential nominees, according to the handy list I put out Friday. And another senator in my top 8, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), last month came out in favor of the idea of “Medicare for all” — though not this specific bill (yet).

Obamacare Architect Flips on Single-Payer: 'The Time Has Come'

  Obamacare Architect Flips on Single-Payer: 'The Time Has Come' Bernie Sanders once said it would take "a million years" for Max Baucus to support single-payer. It took less than 10 years."To a single-payer idea? No. Not in a million years," Sanders replied to a C-SPAN interviewer.

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This is about as far from a coincidence as you can get. And it suggests the dam is breaking when it comes to the Democratic Party embracing government-run health care.

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There are 48 members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate. The fact that 4 of the first 5 to come out in support of Sanders's bill all came from a relatively small universe of top presidential hopefuls suggests that this will be a litmus test issue in 2016. And any hopeful that doesn't support it is going to stand out like a sore thumb. (The fifth was Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon joined the growing group shortly after Booker on Monday afternoon. Merkley and Whitehouse have also been mentioned as dark-horse 2020 hopefuls.)

Warren dismisses Dem divisions as lawmakers rally around single-payer

  Warren dismisses Dem divisions as lawmakers rally around single-payer Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) dismissed conflict inside the Democratic Party on Friday in a new interview, noting that Democrats are rallying around health care and other issues. Warren told the editorial board of The Republican on Friday that the Democratic Party has found agreement on the idea that health care should be a guaranteed right for all citizens."One party in America said it was OK to roll back health care coverage for 25 million Americans and one party in America thinks that health care is a basic human right -- I'm ready to go on that one," she said Friday.

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It also seems to confirm that these senators have clear designs on running. 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. The bill hasn't even been introduced yet; that'll come Wednesday.

That's not to say single-payer isn't gaining support elsewhere in the Senate Democratic caucus. Notably, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said last week that Congress should take a “solid look” at single-payer. Activists hailed even those cautious words given Tester represents a red state and has previously been dismissive of the idea that single-payer's time has come. (Tester said “we are so far away” from that debate in both March and June.)

Tester is hardly the only Democrat to resist this debate. Just last year, Sanders primary foe Hillary Clinton dismissed single-payer as “a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass.” Fast-forward a year, and it's Democratic presidential hopefuls that are spearheading this.

Booker signs on to Sanders's 'Medicare-for-all' bill

  Booker signs on to Sanders's 'Medicare-for-all' bill Sen. Cory Booker is throwing his support behind a "Medicare for all" bill being introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), becoming the latest Democrat floated as a 2020 contender to back the legislation. The New Jersey senator told NJTV News that he would sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill, which is scheduled to be rolled out on Wednesday. "This is something that's got to happen. ObamaCare was a first step in advancing this country, but I won't rest until every American has a basic security that comes with having access to affordable health care," Booker told the New Jersey outlet.

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And polls certainly suggest its time has come — at least on the left. I argued back in July that the biggest winner of the Obamacare repeal debate was single-payer. And polls have repeatedly shown an increase in support for both single-payer and the idea that government should guarantee health care, even among Republicans.

A Pew poll in January showed 60 percent of Americans said the government had a responsibility to provide health care coverage for all, up from 51 percent the year before. The poll showed just 33 percent overall favored single-payer specifically — versus a “mix of government and private programs” — but among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, 52 percent wanted single-payer. And among self-described liberals, it was 64 percent.

  Analysis | The dam is now breaking on Democrats’ embrace of single-payer © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post

In other words: The writing is on the wall. The GOP's failed efforts to repeal and/or replace Obamacare have cemented government's increased role in health care, and not even Republicans are really arguing for a big rollback on that. Meantime, Sanders's stronger-than-expected challenge to Hillary Clinton in 2016 showed the power that a base-energizing, single-payer-supporting candidate can have.

There are about 18 months until the first Democratic debates of 2020, and the trend line is clear enough that Democratic hopefuls know in which direction this will go. And they also have the added benefit of knowing they probably won't have to actually vote on this anytime soon.

Expect this to continue apace in the days and weeks ahead.

Sanderscare is all cheap politics and magic math .
Lawmakers are much likelier to make universal health care happen if they base their plans in reality.For years Democrats have (rightfully) hammered Republicans for spouting empty slogans and magic math.

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