Not only has Perez not endorsed a single-payer system, but in 2016, while campaigning for then Democratic primary candidate Hillary Clinton, he criticized challenger Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) for his support of single-payer health care.
While she has publicly stated her support for single-payer health insurance, cosponsoring Sanders' bill is more of a formal step. Sheldon Whitehouse, and Oregon's Jeff Merkley joined the growing group shortly after Booker on Monday afternoon.
The momentum among Democratic 2020 hopefuls showcases the scale of Sanders' early influence over the 2020 Democratic process.
One prominent Democrat, however, refuses to support the bill: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that she wouldn't back Sanders' legislation, noting that she was instead focused on "protecting the Affordable Care Act".
View Slideshow Bilal Sekou- Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Hartford. Chion Wolf WNPR
In June, the New York Senator revealed that she favored a single-payer health care system, stating for the record, "health care should be a right, it should never be a privilege". Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, and Warren are all rumored to be plotting presidential runs in 2020. A Pew survey from last June shows only 33% support the idea of single payer. Elizabeth Warren of MA and California Sen. "I think health care should be a right to all", Booker said. In short, using Sanders' plan as a catalyst for a takeover by Democrats of the House and Senate would cost more votes than it attracts.
Still, single-payer is gaining traction among Democrats. "It's the best way to ensure that every American finally has access to quality, affordable health care". Tester said "we are so far away" from that debate in both March and June. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY and Chris Murphy of CT, whose staff has reportedly worked with Sanders on the legislation, have also expressed support for the idea of Medicare for All. I said, nope, we're not going to put single-payer on the table. Why?
Meanwhile, NBC obtained Monday the summary draft of a bill that Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy have prepared as a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare with a system that favors insurance companies.
After former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was selected as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, numerous voters who had backed Sanders in the primary were skeptical of her progressive chops.