The Capitol Hill health care fight sure seemed dead. After Republican proposals to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, failed to pass a Republican-controlled Congress, lawmakers looked poised to move on to other topics, like a tax overhaul. But this week, proposals from both the left and the right are grabbing headlines. (Meanwhile, some members are also wrangling over how they can stabilize Obamacare.)
On Wednesday came a “Medicare for All” bill from Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders — his attempt to push single-payer health care, long one of his favorite causes.
In a Wednesday op-ed in the New York Times, the former presidential candidate wrote about single-payer health care as a moral issue, giving it his familiar populist framing.
“We remain the only major country on earth that allows chief executives and stockholders in the health care industry to get incredibly rich, while tens of millions of people suffer because they can’t get the health care they need,” he wrote. “This is not what the United States should be about.”
Spoiler: It’s not going to pass this Congress
But with 2020 (already) on people’s minds, single-payer seems primed to be something Democrats will be talking about for the next few years.
So here’s a quick primer on what is in Sanders’ bill — and why it matters, despite being dead on arrival.