Jeff Merkley Co-Sponsors Bernie Sanders' 'Medicare For All' Legislation

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New Jersey's Sen. Cory Booker announced earlier in the day that he is now a co-sponsor of the "Medicare for All", saying it is a continuation of progress made under the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., second from right, declines to speak with a reporter as he walks to a luncheon with Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.

So far the following Democratic senators have agreed to co-sponsor the bill: Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Jeff Merkley of OR and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. At this point it's fast becoming a prerequisite for any Democrat hoping to run for the presidency in 2020.

As it stands, there is already a national, single-payer healthcare bill languishing in the House, Rep. John Conyers' United States National Health Care Act‬, which the Michigan Democrat introduced on January 24, has 117 co-sponsors, and has been buried in committees ever since.

Sanders is expected to roll out his single-payer proposal on Wednesday.

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Democrats are also worrying over whether placating Sanders' far-left, anti-establishment supporters will alienate moderate Democrats to such a degree that it will be impossible to gain congressional majorities in 2018 and the presidency in 2020. "Nobody goes broke paying a medical bill". Notably, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said last week that Congress should take a "solid look" at single-payer. There are still big fights to be had to create a Democratic Party untethered from lobbying and corporate money - a party more committed to advancing the power of workers and the grass roots.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has long supported universal health care coverage.

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Still, single-payer is gaining traction among Democrats. Fortunately, single-payer Medicare-for-all would both greatly cut costs and markedly increase Obamacare's improved coverage, impossible until health insurance companies lose control. "I think health care should be a right to all", said Booker.

"I don't think it's a litmus test", Pelosi said. Kirsten Gillibrand has signed on to co-sponsor the legislation. "You should not be punished because you are working class or poor and be denied healthcare".

After former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was selected as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, numerous voters who had backed Sanders in the primary were skeptical of her progressive chops. The legislation comes in light of uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's healthcare law that continues to be in the crosshairs of congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump.

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