Democrats’ Single-Payer Dilemma

Long before the next presidential election, Sanders’s bill promises to be an issue in 2018.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a "Care Not Cuts" rally in support of the Affordable Care Act, Sunday, July 9, 2017, in Covington, Ky.
AP Photo/John Minchillo
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Kyle Trygstad
Sept. 13, 2017, 9:59 a.m.

The single-payer health care bill Sen. Bernie Sanders rolled out Wednesday has already nudged to the left potential Democratic presidential candidates who would rather not cut off a portion of the base more than two years before the primaries.

But long before 2020, the move by Sanders puts in print a bill that, despite having no chance of passing, every Democratic House and Senate candidate must now answer for, both in primaries and in swing-seat general elections. It could serve to distract from a potentially potent narrative of an ineffective Republican-controlled Congress and unpopular president.

That includes the Democratic senators up for reelection in states that strongly supported President Trump, as well as the House hopefuls vying for the critical GOP open seats and challenging vulnerable Republican incumbents.

Didn’t Democrats just wade through years of Republican attacks over their successful overhaul of the health care system, and lose both their majorities along the way? Pushing further on the issue just weeks after saving Obamacare seems like a strategy fraught with electoral peril.

Kyle Trygstad


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