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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 13:41

Advice for Democrats on Single-Payer

Written by  Jim Newell

On Wednesday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced the Medicare For All Act of 2017, his long-awaited single-payer health care proposal that (as of this writing) has earned 16 Democratic co-sponsors. That’s a 16-senator improvement on the last single-payer bill he introduced in the Senate.

It’s not just fellow lefties, like Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, supporting the Sanders plan. The bill has also earned the co-sponsorship of more typically cautious Democrats like New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, as well as one senator, Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, who’s up for re-election in a state Donald Trump won. It has become difficult for any Democratic senator considering a 2020 presidential bid not to co-sponsor Sanders’ bill, a sign that support for single-payer will be the default position.

But how committed will that support be?

Single-payer supporters shouldn’t just take these supposed believers in government-sponsored health care at their word. Until they answer the difficult questions the Medicare for All Act of 2017 evades—omissions that were made specifically to earn their buy-ins—their support should be treated as posturing and not a true commitment to push for single-payer if and when they have the chance. The politicians latching onto single-payer to score points with the Democrats’ progressive base don’t owe those answers to Washington’s scolding policy wonk class. They owe a full litigation of the process to single-payer’s supporters, who deserve to know that their representatives aren’t making them promises they’re not willing to keep.

Read more at Slate

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