A day after the Republican party’s effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act crumbled, Al Gore spoke at a community college in Manhattan, NY, about his new climate change movie. Completely unrelated to the documentary, however, Gore expressed his support for a single-payer healthcare system.
The Huffington Post first reported Gore’s comments during Tuesday’s event. Breaking with ranking Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Gore told the audience that private health insurance has failed to provide accessible coverage for all Americans.
“The private sector has not shown any ability to provide good, affordable health care for all. I believe we ought to have single-payer health care,” Gore said at the event hosted by The New York Times.
As the GOP struggles — despite its Senate and House majority — to come to a consensus on an adequate bill to replace the ACA, some Democrats have gradually moved left and embraced a “Medicare for All” solution. Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigned on the platform and said he would introduce a single-payer bill when the GOP failed to repeal the ACA (he said this in early July).
Sanders’s push is gaining traction. A House Bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers predicated on a single-payer healthcare system now has the majority of House Democrats’ support. The bill has 115 cosponsors, including single-payer advocate and DNC Deputy Chair Rep. Keith Ellison.
Democratic Senators are also joining Sanders in endorsing single-payer. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said “the next step” was single-payer in June. Sen. Kristin Gillibrand has expressed support for single-payer and Sen. Kamala Harris offered a measured backing of the solution.
If the ACA does fail, as President Trump so hopes it does, the Democrats might have a viable option with single-payer — and a third of Americans back it according to a Pew Research Center study released in June (52% of registered Democrats support single-payer, too). It’s such a viable solution, in fact, that Republican Sen. Jerry Moran warned single-payer might happen if the GOP can’t find another way to repeal the ACA; he even said it was probable.
“If we leave the federal government in control of everyday healthcare decisions, it is more likely that our healthcare system will devolve into a single-payer system,” Sen. Moran said in his decision to oppose the GOP’s healthcare bill.
The Democratic Party leadership is reluctant to get on board with Medicare for All, but they may have no other choice and it would certainly help the party with its dwindling popularity and inability to counteract Trumpism.