Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is launching a campaign Wednesday to promote his planned Medicare for All legislation, engaging directly with voters across the nation.
The senator is asking supporters to sign on to the proposal as "citizen co-sponsors" via a digital ad campaign. In an article by the Guardian, Sanders's team described the operation as an effort to dispel myths about government-run healthcare, which is offered to the general populations of almost every western country and number of developing nations.
"Bottom line is: if other countries around the world are providing quality care to all their people, we can do the same," Sanders told NPR on Tuesday. "The American people are familiar with Medicare. By and large it's quite a popular program. But it starts now when you are 65 years of age...It should be available for every single person in this country."
A longtime proponent of Medicare for All, Sanders has laid out his plan for the system on his website, noting that it would be paid for with taxes on capital gains, dividends and estates of the wealthiest Americans, as well as with savings that would be gained by eliminating healthcare tax expenditures.
"We outspend all other countries on the planet and our medical spending continues to grow faster than the rate of inflation," Sanders's website says. "Creating a single, public insurance system will go a long way towards getting healthcare spending under control."
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Ahead of the ad campaign, Sanders sent an email to his supporters asking for ideas regarding how to implement a Medicare for All plan, counter right-wing attacks on government-run healthcare, and bring all Americans into the fight for healthcare access. Within 24 hours, Sanders had raised $65,000 and received 19,000 responses.
The positive response follows months of signs that Americans and their lawmakers are embracing Medicare for All. The Pew Research Center found in June that 33 percent of citizens supported government-funded healthcare for all Americans, up five points since January and 12 points since 2014. Fifty-two percent of Democrats supported the plan.
Senators including Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have also spoken up in favor of Medicare for All, with Warren urging her party to strongly endorse government-run healthcare while Republicans attempt to do away with the Affordable Care Act.
Sanders's Medicare for All digital campaign will include ads on Facebook and Google and is planned to last through the Senate's August recess. When lawmakers reconvene after Labor Day, the senator plans to bring his proposal to the Senate floor for debate.