Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal stood beside Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and 15 others Wednesday in Washington D.C. as Sanders introduced his “Medicare For All” bill.
Blumenthal pledged to push the bill by conducting hearings with his constituents in Connecticut in order to listen to what they will say about Medicare For All.
“I’m going to listen to them,” Blumenthal said. “I challenge my Republican colleagues to do the same.”
Blumenthal said when he first backed Sanders that with the GOP holding the majority, he knows that the full passage of Medicare For All likely won’t happen any time soon.
He acknowledged that every Democratic president since Truman had considered the single-payer system, but it’s only now because of advocates like Sanders that the idea is coming closer to the mainstream. Sanders himself had harsh words for his Republicans colleagues.
“You, the Republican Party, have shown the American people what you stand for when you voted for legislation that would throw up to 32 million Americans off of the health insurance they have,” Sanders said.
Sanders said taxes would indeed go up under single-payer, but that the effect would be offset by eliminating the cost of private health insurance.
Blumenthal assured those struggling with opioid addiction that Medicare For All would allow them access to treatment. He also said that women’s reproductive issues -- like an amendment that blocks Medicaid from covering abortions -- would also be improved.
“They have been denied health care for too long because of restrictions like the Hyde Amendment,” Blumenthal said. “Consider the Hyde Amendment history if we pass Medicare For All.”
Under a single-payer system, all residents would have access to taxpayer-funded healthcare. Connecticut’s other U.S. Senator, Chris Murphy, has not sponsored the bill yet. He’s working on his own legislation that would allow individuals and businesses to buy into Medicare.
Meanwhile, led by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, several Republicans are introducing a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.