Bernie Sanders for years has waged a lonely Senate battle for legislation to create a single-payer, government-run health care system. Now, the Vermont independent, who has never had a co-sponsor for his bill, has quite a bit of company.
Sixteen Democrats — including potential 2020 presidential candidates — have lined up behind his "Medicare-for-All" bill, which would eliminate the role of private insurers in basic health care coverage. More than 500,000 people across the country have signed a petition as "citizen co-sponsors" of his bill, which he introduced today in a packed Senate hearing room.
In the House, a record majority of Democrats — 117 — have signed onto similar legislation by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan.
"There is no doubt about it, momentum is on our side," wrote Sanders, who pushed the idea as a 2016 presidential candidate, in an email to his supporters Wednesday.
But momentum is hardly passage, and the bill faces an uphill climb in a Republican-controlled Congress that is still trying to unravel Democrats' last overhaul of the American health care system: Obamacare.
Here's what a Medicare-for-all bill could mean for you: