We’ve had a fair amount of discussion about Medicare For All recently, including the various proposal and what it means to different people. Over the past few months, an increasing number of Democrats have expressed support for the proposal. On that note, I’m proud that my Senator, Kristen Gillibrand of New York, supports Medicare For All.
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has come out in favor of a single-payer health care system.
This is a move to the left for Gillibrand, who despite advocating for “Medicare for all” since her first congressional campaign has not outright advocated a single-payer system. She is following in the suit of Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who told The Wall Street Journal last week that “President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts. Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer.”
Gillibrand has consistently supported universal healthcare for years. In 2009, during the lead up to the ACA, she was a strong proponent for a public option that she then referred to as “Medicare For All”.
“Standing up for public healthcare is the most important thing we can do,” she said, adding that her goal was a system that achieved “Medicare for all.”
But while at least one previous speaker had encouraged support for the single-payer approach to healthcare, with an entity like Medicare handling all health matters, Ms. Gillibrand did not mention that idea. She focused instead on what has emerged as the most divisive part of the current national healthcare debate in Washington—whether a government-supported health insurance program should be allowed to compete with private sector companies offering coverage under new terms set by the federal government. On that question she said, “if we do not have a not-for-profit [insurer] then we, as Democrats, have failed.”
— www.columbiapaper.com/… (2009)
As Salon notes above, Sen. Gillibrand now supports single-payer “Medicare For All” as the right solution for our times.
Add another major 2020 Democratic player to the list of supporters of single-payer health insurance: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “Yes,” the New York senator does support single-payer, her senior adviser Glen Caplin told me.
Gillibrand first seemed to endorse the idea on the steps outside the Capitol this week, in a Facebook Live hosted by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. “Health care should be a right, it should never be a privilege. We should have Medicare for all in this country,” she said.
However, Gillibrand in the past hasn’t used the phrase “Medicare for all” as a substitute for “single-payer” the same way Bernie Sanders does. Instead, as Caplin pointed out, “since she first ran for Congress in 2006 in a red district, Kirsten has been advocating for ‘Medicare for all’ where anyone can buy into Medicare for a price they can afford” — that is, by paying a fixed percentage of their income.
That all begged the follow-up: Does Gillibrand support single-payer? Her senior adviser’s answer — “yes” — to that question is a major development for Gillibrand. It positions her with Sanders, progressive activists, and as of this week, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who told The Wall Street Journal that on health care, “now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single-payer.” Per the Pew Research Center, 52% of Democrats support single-payer.
That Pew research report found that 60% of Americans say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans.
The Senate companion to John Conyers’ HR 676 (which has 116 co-sponsors in the house) has not been released as yet. That is largely because Senate Democrats had been focusing on defeating the ACA repeal efforts. Gillibrand has already endorsed the forthcoming bill.
Sanders spoke alongside Gillibrand in March at a press conference in support of the Family Act, and Gillibrand is very enthusiastic about becoming a co-sponsor of Sanders’s forthcoming Medicare for All bill. “People want affordable health care,” she says. For the record, she’s not late to that party; Gillibrand supported Medicare for everyone when she ran in her House district in 2006. “It’s the solution, and it makes sense to people even in my two-to-one Republican district.”
I’m pleased that my Senator and progressive stalwart, Kirsten Gillibrand supports Medicare For All.