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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Senator Whitehouse supports single-payer health care

By Bob Plain in Rhode Island’s Future

Image result for sheldon whitehouseRhode Island will have a signature on Senator Bernie Sanders’ much-anticipated Medicare For All bill set to be introduced on Wednesday as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will be a cosponsor.

“It’s time we had a real conversation about creating a national health plan,” Whitehouse said in a statement released today.

“We have come a long way under Obamacare, but I still hear from Rhode Island families and small business owners that health care costs are too high.  I am committed to bringing down those costs while improving the quality of care for Rhode Islanders.”

Medicare For All is a euphemism for a single-payer healthcare system, or one in which the government provides basic healthcare to everyone. 

It’s akin to making basic healthcare a right of citizenship, much like public education.

Democrats, who by and large wouldn’t consider the idea when crafting Obamacare, have becoming increasingly receptive to the idea after the 2016 presidential election made clear populist uprisings are brewing if not boiling in both major parties.

“As Sanders prepares to unveil his new legislation next week,” CNN reported on Saturday, “the broader left is beginning to coalesce around a vision that holds up universal, government-backed health care as a core Democratic party principle. California’s Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse” are expected cosponsors, CNN reported, with more expected. Since then, Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, has also signed onto the bill.

RI Sen Jack Reed’s office has not yet responded to a request for comment on the bill. In March, he was quoted by the Washington Post at a town hall meeting in Coventry as saying, “I’m old enough to have voted for a single-payer system in the House.”

Congressman David Cicilline is a cosponsor of the House version of a Medicare For All legislation. A spokeswoman for Congressman Jim Langevin said today he remains open-minded but non-committal to supporting a single payer healthcare system.

WPRI’s Ted Nesi broke the news about Whitehouse cosponsoring in his Saturday column, and earned a tweet from @SenSanders for the effort.

Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.