September 14, 2017

Medicare For All

Senator Sanders’ “Medicare For All” Bill is a play for the soul of the Democratic Party

by Chris Thomas

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During the Obama administration the Republican House held more than 50 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. None of those votes had any chance of actually repealing the law nor of changing the course of the program, but they were held all the same. The party out-of-power often uses bills and even votes as a way of signaling policy objectives and cementing commitments.

Senator Bernie Sanders has absolutely no chance of getting his “Medicare For All” bill through the Senate, much less past the House and on to the President’s desk. Should the stars align and the bill inexplicably make it that far it will face a certain veto at the hands of President Trump.

But the bill still matters.

Why this matters

The bill matters because the Democratic Party is deciding, today, what the 2018 and 2020 elections will look like. If 2016 taught the Democrats anything it is that it is not enough to be the party opposed to “Trumpism” or the Republican Agenda nor is it is not enough to be the party of technocratic incrementalism. Elections are won by laying claim to a policy objective that excites people and engages their imagination. President Trump’s wall is such an objective; President Obama’s pledge to provide a universal healthcare system was another.

Sanders bill throws a progressive hat into the ring for control of the 2020 Democratic Party platform. The Senators and Congressmen who express support for the bill are, in effect, declaring their preference for a more ideologically liberal brand of Democratic politics.

418 days until election day 2018.

Tell Congress what you think!

Text RESIST to 50409, or just click here to tell your Representatives or Senators what you think about this or any other issue before Congress.

Who to talk to

As with any bill before Congress, any correspondence with your Senators and Representatives helps them to better understand their constituency but the real audience for this bill is the Senate Democratic caucus. Here is where they stand thus far.

Supporters

  • Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
  • Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Al Franken (D-MN)
  • Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  • Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
  • Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  • Ed Markey (D-MA)
  • Jeyy Merkley (D-OR)
  • Brian Schatz (D-HI)
  • Tom Udall (D-NM)
  • Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Non-supporters

  • Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.)
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
  • Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
  • Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.)
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.)
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)
  • Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
  • Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.)
  • Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.)
  • Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)
  • Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.)
  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)
  • Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)
  • Sen. Angus King (I-Maine)
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
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