Among the co-sponsors of the new legislation are four of Sanders-Sens' other Democracy 2020 candidates. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand – who also signed an earlier version published by Sanders in 2017.
By unveiling his proposal now, Sanders is duplicating his idea of signing policy and is betting that his calls to eliminate private medical insurers will win over Democratic voters, even as the party gathers around Obamacare in the middle from a burgeoning legal battle initiated by Republicans and backed by President Donald Trump.
However, this decision could lead to a calm debate within the Democratic Party, opposing Sanders to other candidates, including some of the co-sponsors of the Senate bill, on the best way forward for universal coverage. It's a fight that Sanders seems to welcome. At the start of the 2020 campaign, he relentlessly attacked private insurers, claiming that their presence perversely affected the entire US health care system – a step, both theoretically and politically , which his opponents have up to now. refused to correspond.
Warren, Harris and Booker have all expressed their willingness to consider compromise plans that allow private insurers to play a role in any new or redeveloped system. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who has said she does not support Medicare for all, and Senator Michael Bennet, who plans to get into the race soon, have clashed with moderates. Liberal colleagues.
The new legislation will update Sanders '2017 bill, adding provisions to expand its scope and possibly offer new details on Sanders' plan to pay for a program that could virtually wipe out the industry. private insurance. More than 150 million Americans are currently covered by private insurance through their employers and tens of millions of others through Medicare Advantage. Millions of other people purchase coverage through the exchanges of the Affordable Care Act.
Sanders, despite the support of other less ambitious bills in the past, has intensified his attacks on the industry, which he considers with many of his supporters as stingy and as the root of the problem that Medicare is supposed to solve.
"Today, we say to private insurance companies: we say that we like it or not, the United States will join all the other major countries of the world and guarantee health care to the entire population as a right", said Sanders at a rally. in Los Angeles last month. "The goal of health care is to provide quality care to all, not to ensure that insurance companies earn billions of dollars a year through our disease."
Under medicare for everyone, everyone would be insured by a federally administered plan. It would cover all medically necessary care, including vision care and dental care. Private insurers can stay in business but can only provide benefits, such as non-emergency surgery, not covered by the federal plan.
The main point of friction: the cost, which would be largely borne by the taxpayers. Plan estimates for 2017 could reach $ 32 trillion over 10 years. The Sanders team claims that many people would still be winning because they would not have to pay any premiums, deductibles or co-insurance.
The Trump decision in March to support a trial that would overturn Obamacare sparked a wave of Democrat retaliation, but it also highlighted the party's internal divisions, with the moderates preferring to reinforce the historic law on the reform of democracy. health and reverse many steps. Trump and congressional Republicans have taken to undermine it.
But Sanders has long argued that simply correcting Obamacare or creating adherence to public programs would not solve the underlying problems.
"As long as you have private insurance companies in the equation, you're going to have a system that's not just interested in making people healthy and doing it in the most way cost-effective, "said Sanders' assistant After the Trump government announced its new position, CNN suggested that the new public focus on the issue could be a boon for the Sanders campaign.
"I do not know what it says about other candidates," said the assistant, "but I think it plays on his strengths as a candidate because he has a very clear message about health care and the need to guarantee health care every American as a right, not a privilege. "
Support for Sanders' bill, which won 16 co-sponsors in 2017 after having attracted none just a few years earlier, was presented by many to the left as a signal of the party's movement left on the sidelines. health care and, in the context of a primary fight, many have spent two years playing, his main role in leading the debate. In speeches delivered at the beginning of this second presidential campaign, Sanders frequently reminded supporters that single-payer health care, an idea considered "too radical" by the political establishment, became a reality after his campaign of 2016.
The Democratic nominees in 2020, such as Warren, Booker and Harris – among many others – have almost uniformly endorsed the widespread expansion of government-run health insurance. But they are less likely to present it to an appeal to overthrow private sector insurers.
Last month, at CNN City Hall, Warren asked him if there could be a role to play for these companies. Warren did not hesitate.
Booker, too, has made it clear that private insurers would probably have a place, even if Democrats can achieve a significant expansion of health care.
"Even countries with wide access to public health care still have private health care," he said shortly after announcing his candidacy.