Sen. Shaheen To Co-Sponsor Bernie Sanders’ ‘Medicare For All’ Bill

Sep 13, 2017

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined a growing list of Democrats who are co-sponsoring a national single-payer health insurance plan put forward by Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.

The 2016 Presidential candidate has long championed universal health coverage, including efforts in his home state to pass a government-run program.

Sanders' latest national effort is garnering the support of at least fifteen Democratic Senators, though the bill stands little chance of passing in the GOP-controlled legislature.

“I support the Medicare For All Act because I believe that healthcare should be a fundamental right in this country,” said Senator Shaheen in a statement. “Too many Granite Staters continue to struggle to access quality affordable healthcare.”

While she acknowledged the bill’s long-shot odds of passing, Shaheen added, “I believe this bill puts pressure on Congress to think big when it comes to providing the healthcare that all Americans need and deserve.”

Under the proposal, children and adults up the age of 65 would be phased into a publicly funded health insurance program, similar to what many industrialized nations offer. Private health insurance would be available only for elective treatments.

Sanders’ bill doesn’t include how the single-payer program would be funded, though he told the Washington Post he plans to release a paper outlining different tax proposals.

First-term Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan isn't endorsing the Medicare for All plan at this time.

According to Hassan's press secretary, "What the Senator is focused on is finding ways to work across the aisle to improve and build on the Affordable Care Act so that we can bring down health care costs – particularly the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs – that are squeezing families in New Hampshire and across the country." 

(This story has been updated.)