California Sen. Kamala Harris announced for the first time Wednesday night that she will sponsor a single-payer healthcare plan. Fellow Sen. Bernie Sanders is prepping a "Medicare for All" bill that's yet to be introduced, and Harris is the first Democrat to publicly pledge her support.
"It's just the right thing to do," Harris said at a town hall in her hometown of Oakland. "It's not just about what is morally and ethically right, it also makes sense just from a fiscal standpoint."
Following Republicans' efforts to repeal much of Obamacare that stalled in the Senate earlier this year, Sanders' bill will be the exact opposite. Likely to be introduced in the next month, it would create a federally administered single-payer healthcare program funded by taxes and employer premiums.
Sanders has long touted single-payer healthcare, but more moderate Democrats (including his 2016 primary rival, Hillary Clinton) were never on board. And Harris is now at odds with the senior senator from her state, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who said at a town hall in April: "If single-payer healthcare is going to mean a complete government takeover over of the health care system, I am not for it."
After Harris confirmed her support for Sanders' plan in a tweet Wednesday night, the Vermont senator responded by saying: "Thank you @KamalaHarris for your support. Let's make health care a right, not a privilege."
However, neither Conyers nor Sanders have enough support to pass their proposals right now, as there's still no consensus within the party on how to handle healthcare.