Senator Bernie Sanders will be introducing his “Medicare for All” bill to the Senate on Wednesday, and it already appears that the bill has some major support in the Senate, NBC News reports.
The bill, which is largely reminiscent of Sanders’ healthcare plan during his presidential campaign, would essentially call for a complete overhaul of the American healthcare system, according to The Huffington Post, and would replace nearly all private health insurance with Medicare.
In an interview with HuffPost on Tuesday, Sanders said that he believes that Americans are ready for this ambitious change, adding, “The American people are catching on to where the Republicans are coming from, they see the limitations of the Affordable Care Act and they’re looking at the alternatives,” Sanders said. “And this is a rational alternative.”
Dems who have now signed on to Sanders's Medicare for All bill:
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 12, 2017
And now, the bill has garnered a lengthy list of co-sponsors by some of the most popular and prominent senators. According to HuffPost, the list includes Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, all of which are potential 2020 presidential candidates. Furthermore, Patrick Leahy, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, Martin Heinrich, Tom Udall, Brian Schatz, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Jeanne Shaheenand Tammy Baldwin have also joined to support the bill. To top of the list, according to The Hill, Senator Al Franken gave his support to the bill.
Sanders, during his interview with HuffPost, said he does not question whether Americans will support this bill, especially after seeing how quickly so many senators signed on to support the bill. “You’re seeing it in polling, you’re seeing it in town meetings, you’re seeing the American people waking up and demanding that we end this dysfunctional system and we join the rest of the industrialized world,” Sanders said.
In discussing what “Medicare for All” would look like, Sanders wrote in his op-ed piece for The New York Times that the transition would happen over a four year period.
“The transition to the Medicare for All program would take place over four years. In the first year, benefits to older people would be expanded to include dental care, vision coverage and hearing aids, and the eligibility age for Medicare would be lowered to 55. All children under the age of 18 would also be covered. In the second year, the eligibility age would be lowered to 45 and in the third year to 35. By the fourth year, every man, woman and child in the country would be covered by Medicare for All.”
However, the bill does not specify how the new healthcare system would be financed. During his presidential campaign, Sanders said that his healthcare plan would be financed through an increase in taxes, but this time, Sanders has written a policy paper which outlines possible options to finance the healthcare system, HuffPost reports.
American doctors are sick and tired of our inefficient, wasteful, dysfunctional health care system. They want Medicare for all. pic.twitter.com/3QQwFlzf85
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 13, 2017
But with a call for such a vast change, opposition to this bill is inevitable. Asking Americans to give up their health insurance and possibly pay more in taxes is no easy feat. Then, of course, there will be political opposition by the Republican who have long fought to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and would more than likely not want to add any further government involvement in the healthcare system.
Additionally, it's expected that doctors, hospitals and the insurance industry would likely fight this bill. As HuffPost points out, doctors and hospitals won’t want to have to wait to be reimbursed by Medicare, which usually pays less than private insurance to hold down costs.
Still, with Americans frustrated with the healthcare system and its costs, HuffPost reports that Sanders is positive that the bill “is going to be won in communities all over this country, when people begin to stand up and tell their elected officials, ‘Sorry, the status quo is not working and we want all Americans to have health care in a cost-effective way."