Bernie Sanders introduced his universal health care proposal today and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley was standing with him. Merkley is one of 16 Democrats to co-sponsor the bill.
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.
The junior senator from Oregon appeared at today's launch event and touted his support for the bill on social media.
This is not the first time this year the senators have joined forces. The popular senator from Vermont stood with Merkley in April to introuduce the 100 by '50 Act, which calls for transitioning to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050.
Sen. Ron Wyden has not added his support to the Medicare for All Act of 2017.
Wyden told Jeff Stein of Vox that he was not ready to add his name to the growing list of senators supporting Sanders saying, "I'm going to have to see the bill." It's unlikely that Wyden and his staff did not see some version of the bill or were not briefed on the key provisions.
Wyden's involvement in crafting Obamacare sheds light on the senator's thinking. Wyden was deepling involved in the passage of the ACA and even authored a key section of the bill, the Waiver for State Innovation. The provision gave states the option to implement the ACA how they see fit if they can show their approach will insure more people. State-based solutions were a popular centrist compromise to what some saw as federal government overreach in the ACA.
Wyden has also been a vocal defender of the ACA as the GOP sought to repeal and replace the law. He may be more aligned with the Democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer who would rather focus on defending the ACA than fighting a sure to be uphill single payer health care battle.
Will have to see if Wyden can hold this position as momentum for Sanders' bill grows nationally and in Oregon. Sanders helped drive unprecedented voter registration in the state ahead of the primary, which he won by 70,000 votes.
Photo Credit: Handout photo from Jeff Merkley's office for 100 by 50 event