News Release

Sanders’ Single-Payer Plan: “Politicians Must Take a Stand”

ROBERT WEISSMAN, via Nadia Prupis, nprupis@citizen.org; Angela Bradbery, abradbery at citizen.org, @Public_Citizen
Weissman is president of Public Citizen. The group notes that: “Today at 2 p.m., ET, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is scheduled to introduce single-payer legislation. Tune into Public Citizen’s Facebook page to watch it live and hear our reaction.”

Weissman said today in a statement titled “Sanders’ Medicare-for-All Legislation Is the Right Thing to Do – Politically, Economically and Morally; Now Politicians Must Take a Stand”: “It is past time for America to join the rest of the industrialized world and ensure that health care is a guaranteed right for everyone.

“That’s why today’s introduction by Senator Bernie Sanders and 16 colleagues of single-payer, Medicare-for-All legislation is so vital.

“The moral, policy and economic case for single-payer is overwhelming. Under our current system, we pay far more for far less. The United States spends far more per capita on health care than other rich countries and has the worst health outcomes and the most severe inequality in access to needed care, by far. It is disgraceful that one in three Americans had a cost-related access to health care problem in the past year.

“With single-payer, everyone is covered as a matter of right, solving the access problems. And while, yes, it will be expensive – health care is expensive – it will yield hundreds of billions in savings annually, by eliminating wasteful corporate bureaucracy and slashing drug prices, among other means.

“Today’s introduction signifies the beginning of a new phase in the campaign for Medicare-for-All.

“The broad senatorial support for the Sanders legislation — along with majority support in the House Democratic caucus for H.R. 676, the single-payer legislation in the House — is a political landmark because it moves single-payer from the edge to the mainstream of policy debate. Starting today, it is no longer possible for elected officials to avoid answering questions about single-payer or to dismiss it out of hand on the grounds that it is not politically viable. Now, they have to take a stand based on the merits. And the evidence makes an overwhelming case for single-payer.”

Sanders’ move did come in for criticism — including by some who have advocated for single-payer. See from Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet: “Bernie’s Big Healthcare Solution Has a Major Flaw…and It’s an Open Invitation for Critics to Sabotage the Movement.”

Also see series of tweets from Lee Fang of The Intercept: “I think the single payer momentum is great but Dems have long used the issue to rile up base (i.e. CA in 2006) and no action when it matters.”