Days after Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the "atrocious" American Healthcare Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on the state of California to "send a message" to the nation and pass a proposed single-payer healthcare bill.
Sanders, who is expected to introduce a Medicare-for-all bill in the Senate this month, made the call at events this past weekend in Beverly Hills.
Speaking at an event Saturday where the senator and his wife, Jane Sanders, were honored as "Public Servants of The Year" by the California-based advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog, he said it would "make my life easier" if legislators in the Golden State passed the Healthy California Act (SB562), which would create a universal healthcare system. That proposal passed its first legislative hurdle last month when the state's Senate Health Committee advanced it, and it moves on to face the Senate Appropriations Committee May 26.
"The great state of California can send a message that will be heard all over this country and all over the world if you pass single payer here," the Sacramento Bee reports him as saying.
At a Sunday event organized by Death Penalty Focus, where he was honored for being "the first presidential candidate in nearly 30 years to forcefully declare his opposition to the death penalty," he again called on California to set an example for the nation by passing SB562.
"You can help me, you can help this country pass single payer right here in California," the Los Angeles Times quotes him as saying.
As for the prospects of Trumpcare—which he dubbed "one of the most disgusting pieces of legislation ever passed," and a "death sentence for thousands"—moving forward in his chamber, Sanders bluntly declared it "dead in its tracks."
The California bill, meanwhile, counts among its supporters National Nurses United and the California Nurses Association, and those organizations' executive director, RoseAnn DeMoro, similarly said it could serve as a model for the nation.
"At a time of critical uncertainty in our national healthcare system, California can once again lead the nation," said DeMoro. "This bill will set a standard in America and be a catalyst for the nation."
And in a sign of building momentum for such a healthcare system, a record 104 House Democrats have signed on to co-sponsor a Medicare-for-All bill.