Congress is debating whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act or improve it, but there is a third option that has gained serious momentum. Americans are more supportive now of a single-payer type health care system than ever before.
According to a recent Pew poll, 60% of Americans believe it is the government’s responsibility to provide health coverage to all Americans. Similarly, 60% of Americans now support expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, according to a June Quinnipiac poll. That number includes 83% of Democrats, 60% of independents, 63% of women, 55% of whites without a college degree, and 66% of non-whites.
Support for universal health care has grown steadily in light of US Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign and has surged amid Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Though Democratic leaders have not yet come out in support of single-payer, several Democrats have voiced support on their own.
Last month, US Sen. Elizabeth Warren told the Wall Street Journal:
"President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor." - US Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Warren then declared, “Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single-payer.”
Meanwhile, US Sen. Jeff Merkley, the only senator to endorse Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary, tweeted out last week:
Even New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who is seen as a more establishment Democrat, recently told her supporters that health care should be a right, adding that “we should have Medicare for all in this country” during a Facebook Live.
In the House, US Rep. John Conyers of Michigan introduced a Medicare for all bill, HR 676, which now has 115 co-sponsors -- a majority of House Democrats. Perhaps most surprisingly, four Blue Dog Democrats have co-sponsored the bill.
Conservative Blue Dogs were largely responsible for defeating the public option in Obamacare in 2009.
In light of the apparent failure of Republicans to deliver on their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, Bernie Sanders recently vowed to release a single-payer bill. “As soon as we defeat this disastrous bill, I will be introducing a Medicare for all, single-payer program” Sanders told a crowd at a rally in Kentucky.
Earlier this year even conservative commentator, Charles Krauthammer conceded that single-payer is inevitable.“The terms of debate are entirely on the grounds of the liberal argument that everybody ought to have ,”
said Krauthammer on Fox News’s Special Report, adding that he believed within seven years we would have single-payer.
As the ongoing debate over health care continues with the Republican plan having a dismally low approval rating, it appears that the American people are ready for a single-payer, Medicare for all system.