Presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s deal with supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was never officially finalized, despite overt efforts on the part of Biden’s campaign to include Sanders supporters at the highest levels of his presidential effort.
Now, Sanders delegates — more than 360 in total — say they may not be willing to play along with the more moderate candidate’s proposed party platform, and they’re pledging to withhold support of the if the Democrats don’t include an explicit endorsement of Sanders’ “Medicare-for-All” plan.
“More than 360 delegates, most of whom back Sanders, have signed on to a pledge to vote against the Democratic Party’s platform if it does not include support for ‘Medicare for All,'” POLITICO reported Monday. “They argue that single-payer health care is an urgent priority amid a worldwide pandemic and the biggest unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.”
“This pandemic has shown us that our private health insurance system does not work for the American people. Millions of people have lost their jobs and their health care at the same time,” Sanders delegate Judith Whitmer, who organized the effort told the newsmagazine. “There’s people leaving the hospital now with millions of dollars in medical bills. What are we going to do about that?”
Major progressive groups like Progressive Democrats of America and the Bernie Delegates Network are behind the petition and plan to publicize it in an effort to force Democrats left on health care. The groups told POLITICO that they are not the ones being divisive — it is a party leadership that refuses to listen to the will of the grassroots that is fracturing the coalition.
“We’re going to fight like hell for Biden. And there’s no contradiction between doing that and supporting this pledge,” one supporter told the outlet. They also say they still plan to vote for Biden to get the nomination.
Biden has been coy about this health care plan, even as his campaign rolls out major, detailed policy documents on other issues. According to NBC News, it’s unlikely Biden will support a full overhaul of the current health care system, though, given that the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” was a signature achievement of Biden’s former employer, the Obama administration.
Instead, Biden is expected to reinstate the individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase some form of insurance, NBC says, and will limit the associated plan price increases by allowing “consumers to spend [no more than] 8.5 percent of their income on insurance.”
Even though the specifics aren’t public yet, the cost for Biden’s health care plan is. As The Daily Wire reported last week, Biden’s full platform could cost upwards of $10 trillion. His health care plan accounts for a full $750 billion of that price tag, and that’s without information on efforts to curb “systemic racism,” which Biden’s policy team says will soon be built into all aspects of the candidate’s spending plan.
Biden has proposed a $4 trillion tax increase, mostly on high-income earners and corporations he claims do not pay taxes.
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