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Here's who's backing Bernie's "Medicare for All" bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill has become a flashpoint for Democrats as they try to reimagine their party after its overwhelming electoral defeat in 2016. And the bill has attracted unprecedented support for legislation that would drastically overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.

The bill that Sanders will introduce Wednesday — after banging the single-payer drum since the 1990s — has the support of at least 15 Democratic senators, including a number of presidential hopefuls. There are 48 Democrats in the Senate, and at least 16 of them — or a third of all the Dems in the Senate — support the Vermont Independent’s plan.


Read: Democrats are embracing single payer for real

Republicans have vowed to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act since it was passed in 2010, but have faltered on healthcare reform, most recently failing to garner the needed votes after Sen. John McCain voted with Democrats. Republicans will soon have to decide whether they want to try one last go at repealing Obamacare, or bolster its markets.

But not all Democrats are on board with the Sanders plan. Some moderate Democrats, like Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, remain skeptical of the Medicare for All plan, preferring instead a market-based solution and bolstering Obamacare.

“I don’t think it’s a litmus test,” Pelosi told reporters in her office Tuesday. “I think to support the idea that … it captures is that we want to have everybody, as many people as possible, everybody, covered. And I think that is something that we all embrace.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is seen as reliably progressive but facing a tough reelection race in 2018, won’t support Sanders’ plan. He’s putting forward a healthcare plan of his own, aimed at expanding Medicare coverage by lowering the enrollment age from 65 to 55, according to Vox.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is also up for reelection in a state that Trump won in 2018. She’s co-sponsoring the bill anyway, penning an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explaining her position.


“When it comes to providing affordable healthcare for every American,” she writes, “there is more we must do right now to change the status quo, improve our healthcare system, and lower costs.”

Even some of the more conservative voices in the Democratic Party are expressing an openness to a single-payer system. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who votes with Republicans more than any other Democrat in the Senate, is “skeptical that single-payer is the right solution,” but thinks the Senate “should carefully consider all the options,” single-payer included.

And Max Baucus, the now-retired Democratic senator from Montana, notorious among progressives for killing Obamacare’s public option back in 2009, says he supports the single-payer concept, though he hasn’t specifically endorsed Sanders’ plan.

Here’s a full list of the bill’s co-sponsors as of Wednesday morning:

  • Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
  • Cory Booker of New Jersey
  • Kamala Harris of California
  • Jeff Merkley of Oregon
  • Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
  • Brian Schatz of Hawaii
  • Mazie Hirono of Hawaii
  • Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
  • Patrick Leahy of Vermont
  • Ed Markey of Massachusetts
  • Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
  • Tom Udall of New Mexico
  • Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
  • Al Franken of Minnesota
  • Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire