Pharmaceutical CEO Is Worried Americans Will Support Bernie Sanders' Health Plan

Merkley announces he will co-sponsor 'Medicare-for-all' bill

Victoria Sarno Jordan

For months, public debate over the future of the USA health-care system has been focused on one theme: the inability of Washington Republicans to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act, a vow they made incessantly on the campaign trail.

Despite the considerable legislative obstacles in its way, single-payer as a concept is gaining traction among the public.

"The last time I introduced this bill, it lacked a single co-sponsor", Sanders said in a letter to supporters. "Health care must be a right, not a privilege". As Bernie succinctly states, "As a patient, all you need to do is go to the doctor and show your insurance card". Everything from emergency surgery to prescription drugs, from mental health to eye care, would be covered, with no co-payments. Americans younger than 18 would immediately obtain "universal Medicare cards", while Americans not now eligible for Medicare would be phased into the program over four years. With Republican majorities in both chambers and Trump in the White House, it's unlikely the bill will garner broad enough support to become law, but the fact that the proposal is being enthusiastically embraced by front-runners for 2020 is a signal that the party is slowly moving toward support for a more comprehensive universal health care system.

The battle-lines between Democrats on the issue appear to extend the disagreements from the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination between Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Getting 17 Democratic senators to back a single-payer plan is no small feat. Ed Markey. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Jeff Merkley of OR all said they'll back the bill as well. Al Franken (Minnesota) is expected to throw his weight behind the plan Wednesday. Numerous Democrats have voiced support for his "Medicare for all" legislation, but Sanders has also faced pushback from members of his own party. A full 56 percent of Democrats - and even 36 percent of independents - prefer a government-run system, compared to just 8 percent of Republicans.

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"We will not back down in our protection of the Affordable Care Act, we will defend it at every turn, but we will go further - we will go further and we will say that in this country, everyone gets the right to basic health care". Sanger-Katz quotes Obama Centers for Medicare and Medicaid head Andy Slavitt, who "worries that the quick shift among his peers on single-payer could backfire".

Long-term care, which Sanders had included in the version he unveiled during his presidential campaign past year, will not be covered.

Every lawmaker touted as a potential Democratic presidential nominee is following Sanders' lead and supporting his bill: Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker.

"Most of the party's congressional leaders and vulnerable Senate incumbents are steering clear" of endorsing the legislation, however, writes Politico's Elana Schor.

USA senators unveiled two opposing visions of a healthcare system in the United States on Wednesday - leading liberals advocating government insurance for all and several Republicans proposing an eleventh-hour repeal of Obamacare to replace it with programs run by the states.

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Or should we join the rest of the industrialized world and say that it doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor, young or old, healthy or sick-health care is a right.

Senators have a deadline of September 30 to determine the fate of Obamacare, noted show host Bill Hemmer, but Barrasso said Republicans are continuing to work every way they can.

Ahead of the bill's release, Sanders explained some of his solutions for a "rational health care system" to Vox's Jeff Stein. "This reform will help us achieve universal coverage for everyone", Baldwin wrote. The plan is ambitious and would likely require new taxes, but Sanders says that the cost would still be cheaper in the long run since people would not have to pay healthcare premiums.

A lonely march to bring Canadian-style, single-payer health care to the United States is a little less lonely these days, with a sudden stampede on the left to get behind Bernie Sanders' so-called medicare-for-all bill.

No. 3 Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota said Graham and Cassidy would need "a double-double bank shot" to prevail, a joking reference to an impossible basketball shot. Can we take on the drug companies and the insurance companies and Wall Street and their unlimited sums of money to influence Congress?

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