Single-payer health care picked up another high-profile supporter this week in U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris.
The California Democrat said she will co-sponsor a Medicare-for-all plan proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who made this issue a centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign.
Other Democrats in California and beyond have been less enthusiastic about single-payer, including Gov. Jerry Brown. State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) recently shelved legislation proposed by the California Nurses Association that called for a state-run health care system. He said it was “woefully incomplete” and lawmakers needed to examine the idea more broadly at hearings scheduled this fall.
Harris is also at odds with California’s senior U.S. senator, Dianne Feinstein, who has said she isn’t ready to back a full government takeover of U.S. health care. Some Democrats favor a more incremental approach, such as a “public option” health plan that would compete with private insurers or lowering Medicare eligibility to age 55.
The Sanders proposal has little chance of becoming law while Republicans control Congress. But it’s sure to trigger heated debate during state and congressional campaigns in the coming year.
Chad Terhune, a senior correspondent at California Healthline and Kaiser Health News, discussed the Medicare-for-all proposal and how it compares to the proposed California’s single-payer legislation with A Martinez, host of the “Take Two” show on Southern California Public Radio.