On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a bill that would guarantee health care coverage for all Americans, a measure that already has the support of at least 15 other Democratic senators.
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Sanders’ Medicare for All Act would allow all individuals to receive coverage by expanding the program. Americans would receive a card that would grant them access to medical services.
The idea is a shift toward a single-payer system, meaning the government – through taxes – would finance health care costs for people regardless of health status, income, etc. Individuals would no longer be responsible for paying premiums, co-pays or deductibles, however they could be on the hook for some out-of-pocket prescription costs, according to CNN. Obviously, an (unspecified) portion of taxes for businesses and individuals would be allocated toward the program.
Sanders is expected to release more details about his Medicare for All plan on Wednesday afternoon, the same day Republicans are expected to detail their revived effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Although the Vermont senator’s proposal has little chance of passing a Republican-controlled Congress, Sanders is opening a dialogue about pushing the U.S. health care system toward a single-payer system. While he has the support of many lawmakers in his party, Sanders’ proposal could force an intraparty divide, as members like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) have refused to publicly support the measure, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Among the Democrats who have signed on to back Sanders’ bill are some of the rumored 2020 presidential candidates for the party, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).