Bernie Sanders has introduced a radical healthcare solution that promises to deliver Medicare for all and offers women total coverage for "comprehensive reproductive healthcare" — including abortion.
The plan would roll out over four years, Sanders explained in a New York Times op-ed, gradually expanding to cover younger and younger people until “every man, woman and child in the country would be covered.”
“This is where the country has got to go,” Sanders said in an interview with the Washington Post. “Right now, if we want to move away from a dysfunctional, wasteful, bureaucratic system into a rational health-care system that guarantees coverage to everyone in a cost-effective way, the only way to do it is Medicare for All.”
As one of its first orders of business, Sanders’ proposal would repeal the longstanding Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer dollars from being used for abortions.
The repeal is actually laid out in the bill, “RESTRICTIONS SHALL NOT APPLY. Any other provision of law in effect on the date of enactment of this Act restricting the use of Federal funds for any reproductive health service shall not apply.”
Pro-choice groups are calling the inclusion of abortion care in Sanders’ Medicare-for-All bill a “big win” for women.
“Senator Sanders’ healthcare bill ends the debate and makes clear that reproductive healthcare, including abortion services, is a fundamental right—not just a privilege for the wealthy,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARA Pro-Choice America, said in a statement.
“The senator’s work to draft this legislation is a groundbreaking advancement for a simple truth: we will never solve our healthcare crisis until women have full access to reproductive services.”
Planned Parenthood called the proposal a “refreshing change.”
But as exciting as the news may be for pro-choice advocates, Sanders has held his tongue on the issue. The Vermont senator hasn’t talked much about how the bill would revolutionize the way abortions are dealt with in America.
It’s unlikely the bill will even make it to the Senate floor, though. Sanders himself has acknowledged it has almost zero chance of passing in the Republican-controlled Congress and recent polls show the proposal isn’t necessarily in line with the views of most Americans — 61 percent oppose taxpayer-funded abortions, according to Marist.