Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California came out in support of a specific single payer health care bill for the first time during a town hall meeting Wednesday.
“I intend to co-sponsor the ‘Medicare for All’ bill because it’s just the right thing to do,” Harris said in reference to Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders’ universal care bill. The bill, which the Vermont lawmaker is expected to introduce in September, expands Medicare coverage to all Americans regardless of age.
“It’s not just about what is morally and ethically right, it also makes sense just from a fiscal standpoint,” she said.
Harris has previously endorsed single payer health care conceptually, but her statements at the Oakland town hall mark her first public endorsement of a specific health care bill. The House version of Sanders’ measure has gained traction with the support of 117 co-sponsors, including 27 California Democratic House members.
Sanders expressed optimism about the bill’s prospects during a rally in Detroit on Saturday.
“You’re seeing more and more movement toward ‘Medicare for All,” Sanders said. “When the people are saying we need healthcare for everyone, as more and more Americans come on board, it will become politically possible.”
Sanders said Monday that the thanked Harris for her support of universal health care following her announcement.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 30, 2017
Support for a single payer health care system, in which the government acts as the sole insurance purchaser, has proven particularly robust in California, where a $400 billion single payer bill passed the state Senate earlier this year only to be caught up in the Assembly.
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