One of the reasons that Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Schumer tees up doomed election reform vote Schumer prepares for Senate floor showdown with Manchin, Sinema White House to make 400 million N95 masks available for free MORE (I-Vt.) is surging in the polls and beginning to receive the national press attention he deserves is that he has brought ideas of substance to the campaign. As CNN has recently reported, the latest Sanders initiative is that he is pushing a Medicare-for-all healthcare program, similar to programs in most developed democratic nations (often referred to as "single payer").
It is fitting — and right — that while progressives celebrate the Supreme Court decision upholding ObamaCare, Sanders believes that is not nearly enough. He is absolutely right. While ObamaCare improved healthcare for millions of Americans, a Medicare-for-all program would improve healthcare for tens of millions, perhaps even hundreds of millions, of Americans.
Many in the media and politics forget that, when healthcare was before Congress, a large majority of voters supported the public option in polls. Much of the public concern about ObamaCare was not that it went too far, but that it did not go far enough. Sanders wants to go further. There is polling from earlier this year that found that a majority of voters supports single-payer healthcare, which puts Sanders on very solid ground politically.
Not long ago, Sanders proposed that young people be offered a free education at public colleges, paid for by a small tax on Wall Street transactions. This is an excellent idea to improve American education, a major issue for voters. Now Sanders has offered an excellent idea to improve healthcare for Americans, another major issue for voters. Earlier, Sanders had offered a bill that would break up big banks, another big idea that should spark a powerful debate on a major issue in the presidential campaign.
When the Democratic candidates meet in debates, ideas such as single-payer healthcare will be a major topic during those debates because Sanders is raising them. He is a candidate of ideas. He is a candidate of progressive ideas. He has earned the attention and support he is receiving. All Democrats should join a majority of Americans in supporting single-payer healthcare and Bernie Sanders is performing a major service to the Democrats and the nation by putting this issue at the top of the agenda.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at email@example.com.