Bernie Sanders, Top Progressives Announce New ‘Medicare For All’ Push

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-progressives-medicare-for-all_us_58d6f5c1e4b03692bea68fd2

Bernie Sanders, Top Progressives Announce New ‘Medicare For All’ Push

Lowering the Medicare age could be a starting point.

WASHINGTON ― In the wake of the Republican failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Friday, leading figures in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party are rallying behind a single-payer health insurance and a raft of other bold reforms.

These lawmakers and grassroots leaders have long believed that the problems plaguing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are rooted in the original health care law’s attempt to accommodate, rather than gradually replace, the private, for-profit health insurance system.

Now that efforts to eliminate the law wholesale are effectively dead, they are again arguing that the best way to improve the country’s health care system is to confront the power of corporate health care providers more directly.

“We have got to have the guts to take on the insurance companies and the drug companies and move forward toward a ‘Medicare for all,’ single-payer program,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” on Friday night. “And I’ll be introducing legislation shortly to do that.”

Sanders added on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that he would “absolutely” seek President Donald Trump’s cooperation on expanding Medicare and lowering prescription drug prices.

Even before the Republicans withdrew their Obamacare repeal bill, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee and a close Sanders ally, previewed this message at a rally in defense of Obamacare on Thursday.

“Don’t just be satisfied with defeating Trumpcare ― set your sights on creating real Medicare for all!” he told a cheering crowd of hundreds of activists. Ellison is a co-sponsor of a “Medicare for all” bill in the House.

Representatives of several major progressive organizations ― the Working Families Party, the Progressive Campaign Change Committee, Credo, Social Security Works and the National Nurses United ― all echoed this push in conversations with The Huffington Post on Friday and Saturday.

“The problem is the insurance companies, Big Pharma ― they’re gonna come back and use the chaos to their advantage,” predicted Social Security Works executive director Alex Lawson. “If Democrats go with a half-a-loaf policy, Republicans are going to blame them for the failures of Big Pharma. They have to immediately pivot to expanding Medicare.”

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