By Ralph Nader
Dear Senator Sanders:
I hear that you will be debating Senator Ted Cruz next Tuesday on CNN in prime time where you will seek to defend Obamacare against Republican assault.
You have said in the past that “I don’t believe in Obamacare” and that Obamacare is “a good Republican program.” So, I’m not sure why you continue to defend it.
As you know, under Obamacare, tens of millions remain uninsured or underinsured.
Deductibles are expanding and networks are narrowing – not to mention numbing complexities, higher co-pays and higher premiums.
In 2013, you introduced a single payer bill in the Senate (S. 1782) – with no co-sponsors.
Throughout the 2016 campaign, you powerfully made the case all over the country before massive audiences for a more efficient single payer Medicare for All – without deductibles, co-pays, premiums – plus free choice of doctor and hospital.
But you have reportedly decided not to introduce or push for single payer in the Congress this year.
Your health policy adviser has privately told some single payer activists you will not introduce a single payer bill into the Senate this year because the Democratic leadership believes that such a bill will get in the way of electing a Democratic Senate in 2018.
Even without the Democratic Party or the labor unions making a major public educational push, a December 2015 national Kaiser public opinion poll found that 58 percent of adults in the US supported single payer – including 81 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Independents, and 30 percent of Republicans.
I urge you to drop your defensive stance and introduce the equivalent of HR 676 – the gold standard single payer bill in the House of Representatives (with 56 co-sponsors so far) – into the Senate this week and come out swinging for the bill next week.
How many of your millions of supporters would not want you to do this?
Onward to Single Payer Medicare for All.