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In wake of GOP failure on health care, Sanders to push single-payer option

WASHINGTON – Now that Republicans’ efforts to pass sweeping health care legislation have failed, Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to propose a health care system funded entirely by taxpayers.

Speaking on “State of the Union” Sunday, Sanders told CNN’s Dana Bash that he intends to introduce legislation outlining a “Medicare-for-all, single-payer” health care plan — and he will reach out to President Donald Trump to help advance it.

“Ideally, where we should be going is to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all people as a right,” Sanders said. “That’s why I’m going to introduce a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program.”

Such a plan would likely face certain defeat in Congress. But calling the GOP health care bill “a disastrous piece of legislation” that “should have been defeated,” Sanders acknowledged that “Obamacare has serious problems.”

“Deductibles are too high,” Sanders said. “Premiums are too high. The cost of health care is going up at a much faster rate than it should.”

When Bash asked if Sanders would reach across the aisle and “pick up the phone and call the White House” to promote the legislation, Sanders emphatically replied: “Absolutely.”

“President Trump, come on board,” Sanders said. “Let’s work together. Let’s end the absurdity of Americans paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.”

Sanders has long advocated for such a program, including when he was a presidential candidate.

His plans come in the wake of calls for bipartisanship following the implosion of GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare last week.

On Monday, Minnesota Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison, deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said on CNN’s “New Day” that members of his party “stand ready” to work alongside Republicans on health care, including on issues such as lower prescription drug prices.

Across the country, California Democrats (aided by grassroots organization Our Revolution, a by-product of Sanders’ campaign) are advocating for a similar bill that would launch a statewide single-payer health care system.

By Eleanor Mueller, CNN