Medicare for All About to Get a Democratic Test

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How far has the Democratic Party shifted in its support for truly universal health care? Jeff Stein reports:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is about to put Democrats’ newfound embrace of single-payer health care to the test….Despite the rise of “Medicare-for-all” as a political slogan in the party, Democrats don’t have a clear plan to translate that aspiration into policy, and their efforts to implement single-payer at the state level have been rebuffed — including in blue states like Vermont and California.

….Sanders will soon change that. The Vermont senator is expected to release his own revised Medicare-for-all bill, the path to single-payer health care. When he does so, Senate Democrats will have to make a choice they’ve thus far avoided: Are they for Medicare-for-all in practice, or just in theory?

Is this a good idea? On the one hand, Republicans never bothered with this during seven years of their “repeal and replace” campaign against Obamacare, and it worked great. Until they actually took power, that is.

On the other hand—well, I’m not sure I see the other hand. An actual bill gives Republicans a concrete target to rail against. It would include a bunch of new taxes. If its sums don’t add up, liberal analysts will say so because, for better or worse, that’s how liberal analysts roll. Its tradeoffs will all be front and center. It will make divisions within the Democratic Party sharper and more visible. From a purely political view, there’s not a lot of upside here to introducing actual legislative text.

If this bill came from anyone else, I’d assume there might be some give and take before it was made public. With Sanders, who knows? Stay tuned.

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