'Medicare for all,' Stabenow says

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Many liberal lawmakers backed the single-payer plan during initial debates over healthcare reform, and Obama praised the idea on the campaign trail in 2008. The Affordable Care Act did not create that system and did not include a "public option." 

Stabenow hammered opponents of the healthcare law and ongoing attempts by the GOP to obstruct it. "I'm tired of the fights about whether or not it should exist. It does exist. It's changing lives," she said.

The Families USA conference lasts through Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Event organizers said several lawmakers will stop by Thursday, including Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa); Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.); and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin will also be present, organizers said.