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 MerkleyGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats The border deal: What made it in, what got left out Lawmakers introduce bill to fund government, prevent shutdown MORE (D-Ore.) on Monday announced he would co-sponsor the "Medicare-for-all" bill being introduced by Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' 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 BookerKlobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' Harris off to best start among Dems in race, say strategists, donors MORE (N.J.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' 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.