GOP will force Dems to vote for single-payer health care

A Republican senator will offer an amendment to the health care reform bill that would implement a government-sponsored single-payer health care system.

Montana senator Steve Daines will offer the amendment in the hopes of putting Democrats on the record as supporting single-payer. 

The Hill:

A vote on the amendment has been scheduled for Thursday.

To be clear, it's almost certain Daines doesn't support a single-payer system. 

The vote would be part of the ObamaCare repeal bill vote-a-rama – a rapid succession of amendments that can last hours, oftentimes stretching through the night and into the next early morning. Vote-a-ramas are often a time when senators force their colleagues across the aisle to take tough votes, which can be turned into political attack ads later.

During the 2016 election, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) championed the idea of Medicare for All.

It's gained traction, as more Democratic candidates have embraced the idea. Recently, senators – such as Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) – have rallied around universal coverage. And a Medicare for All bill in the House has already garnered 115 co-sponsors, which is almost double the amount the legislation received last congressional session.

Senate Democrats have a lot of seats to defend next election: 23 and another two held by independents who caucus with the Democrats. Those up for re-election include Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). 

The legislation from Daines appears to be the same language as the Medicare for All bill in the House sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).

But single-payer isn't a unifying message among Democrats.

"In order to embrace that concept, you'll have to be willing to defend the efficiency and effectiveness of a fully run government system, and there are many Democrats who are not going to do that and there are some who are."

The GOP plan is in danger of failure, but this amendment is a political winner on several different levels.  Just 33% of Americans support a single-payer health insurance plan in one recent poll.  That's up slightly from January.  A vote in favor of single-payer by Democrats leaves them wide open to attack from Republicans come election time.

Even more problematic for many Democrats, their radical base fully supports a government-run health insurance system.  Voting against the amendment may protect them from the wrath of the electorate, but it would anger their base of supporters who supply foot soldiers and money for their campaigns.

The amendment will probably be voted on in the dead of night, when Democrats hope no one is watching.  And, of course, it has zero chance of passing.  But these days, you take your victories where you can, and offering this amendment is a winner.

A Republican senator will offer an amendment to the health care reform bill that would implement a government-sponsored single-payer health care system.

Montana senator Steve Daines will offer the amendment in the hopes of putting Democrats on the record as supporting single-payer. 

The Hill:

A vote on the amendment has been scheduled for Thursday.

To be clear, it's almost certain Daines doesn't support a single-payer system. 

The vote would be part of the ObamaCare repeal bill vote-a-rama – a rapid succession of amendments that can last hours, oftentimes stretching through the night and into the next early morning. Vote-a-ramas are often a time when senators force their colleagues across the aisle to take tough votes, which can be turned into political attack ads later.

During the 2016 election, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) championed the idea of Medicare for All.

It's gained traction, as more Democratic candidates have embraced the idea. Recently, senators – such as Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) – have rallied around universal coverage. And a Medicare for All bill in the House has already garnered 115 co-sponsors, which is almost double the amount the legislation received last congressional session.

Senate Democrats have a lot of seats to defend next election: 23 and another two held by independents who caucus with the Democrats. Those up for re-election include Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). 

The legislation from Daines appears to be the same language as the Medicare for All bill in the House sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).

But single-payer isn't a unifying message among Democrats.

"In order to embrace that concept, you'll have to be willing to defend the efficiency and effectiveness of a fully run government system, and there are many Democrats who are not going to do that and there are some who are."

The GOP plan is in danger of failure, but this amendment is a political winner on several different levels.  Just 33% of Americans support a single-payer health insurance plan in one recent poll.  That's up slightly from January.  A vote in favor of single-payer by Democrats leaves them wide open to attack from Republicans come election time.

Even more problematic for many Democrats, their radical base fully supports a government-run health insurance system.  Voting against the amendment may protect them from the wrath of the electorate, but it would anger their base of supporters who supply foot soldiers and money for their campaigns.

The amendment will probably be voted on in the dead of night, when Democrats hope no one is watching.  And, of course, it has zero chance of passing.  But these days, you take your victories where you can, and offering this amendment is a winner.

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