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Merkley announces he will co-sponsor 'Medicare-for-all' bill

Merkley announces he will co-sponsor 'Medicare-for-all' bill
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyGrassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states Mulvaney remarks on Trump budget plan spark confusion MORE (D-Ore.) on Monday announced he would co-sponsor the "Medicare-for-all" bill being introduced by Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.).

“Health care should be a right for every single American, not a privilege reserved for the healthy and the wealthy," Merkley said in a statement.

“Right now, our health care system is incredibly complex, fragmented, and stressful. It would be terrific to have a simple, seamless system where, solely by virtue of living in America, you know that you will get the care you need."

Merkley said the country has made "tremendous strides" in expanding access to health care.

"But many Americans still are rightfully frustrated by the cost and complexity of our current system," he said.

"It’s time to simplify health care and lower patients’ costs, and embrace Medicare for All.”

Sanders on Monday thanked Merkley on Twitter for the support.

"Thank you @SenJeffMerkley for joining us in the fight to make Medicare for all a reality," the Vermont senator said.

Other Democratic senators supporting the legislation include Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Senate rejects centrist immigration bill after Trump veto threat Sen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats MORE (N.J.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump's SEC may negate investors' ability to fight securities fraud Schatz's ignorance of our Anglo-American legal heritage illustrates problem with government Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE (Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCongress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks American women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE (Calif.).

Sanders put his push for a single-payer health care system at the center of his 2016 presidential bid and has pledged for months to introduce legislation.

--This report was updated at 2:27 p.m.