AP

As Democratic senators line up to co-sponsor Bernie Sanders’ single payer health care bill, the party’s most conservative member said he was open to exploring the idea. Speaking to Bloomberg on Wednesday, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said the proposal “should be explored.”

Manchin, who was considered by President Trump for a cabinet position, added that his endorsement would require analysis of countries with single payer health care systems. “I want to know what happens in all the countries that have it — how well it works or the challenges they have,” Manchin said.

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But I guess Manchin actually gives a shit about re-election because hours after Bloomberg published his receptivity to single payer, he clarified his stance. “I am skeptical that single-payer is the right solution, but I believe that the Senate should carefully consider all of the options through regular order so that we can fully understand the impacts of these ideas on both our people and our economy,” Manchin said in a statement.

While Manchin fumbled his reaction to the growing tide of Democratic support for single payer, Senator Al Franken announced his intention to co-sponsor Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” bill. As did Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, and Tom Udall of New Mexico — bringing the number of senators who have signed on to 15. Sanders is expected to introduce the bill on Wednesday.

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