Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced Thursday that he is partnering with three ditigal media outlets "to do what cable channels and network news will not"—host the first-ever national "Medicare for All" town hall to "engage in an in-depth conversation about one of the issues that matter most to Americans, their healthcare."
"The United States is the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people, but amazingly there has not been one network town hall to discuss why our system lags so far behind every other industrialized country."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
"The United States is the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people, but amazingly there has not been one network town hall to discuss why our system lags so far behind every other industrialized country," Sanders said. "We are going outside the traditional media to change that, to talk about the real issues affecting the American people."
Sanders, a long-time advocate of establishing a single-payer national healthcare system, will be joined by other healthcare experts to take questions about what that transition could look like. One proposal comes from Sanders himself; last year, the senator introduced the Medicare for All Act, which would guarantee healthcare to all Americans.
Even though the Medicare for All bill is backed by more than a quarter of Sanders' colleagues in Congress, and poll after poll has shown growing public support for a single-payer system, the senator and his digital partners are frustrated by the national media coverage of proposals to transform the U.S. system so that it can provide healthcare for everyone.
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"The mainstream media continues to ignore how income inequality and the lack of a decent healthcare system devastates the middle class," said The Young Turks co-host Ana Kasparian. "I look forward to hearing from Bernie how his Medicare for All plan can address this issue."
Mike Vainisi, head of editorial at ATTN:, acknowledged that "healthcare policy is an extremely complex topic," but emphasized the importance of "giving people context around how it affects their actual, everyday lives."
"People are hungry for a thoughtful and honest conversation about healthcare—an often-misunderstood issue that directly impacts our daily lives," said NowThis managing editor Versha Sharma. "NowThis is proud to work with these other outlets to reach an enormous young audience across social media and provide them with the opportunity to directly address Senator Sanders and ask questions of him and leading healthcare and economic experts."
The town hall will begin at 7pm on Jan. 23 at the Capitol Visitor Center's Congressional Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Updates will be posted on the official Facebook event page.