September 21

Westminster Foreign Policy Speech Sen. Bernie Sanders will use a major foreign policy address Thursday to set out his view of how politicians on the left should discuss the U.S role in the world and why voters at home should pay close attention to America’s actions abroad. Now seen as a leader among liberals and a strong 2020 candidate, Sanders is poised to show that he can be a leader in the foreign policy conversation as well, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast and Missourinet reported.

Sanders in California  Sanders will speak at a California Nurses Association-sponsored rally in favor of a single-payer health care system. The event begins at 1 p.m. Friday in the Yerba Buena Gardens esplanade, SFGate reported.

Medicare-for-All Bill Sanders interviewed with WCAX-TV about his single-payer health care bill and why American health care costs so much. “There is enormous waste in our system. Too many different plans – and thus huge administrative costs,” Sanders said. “I’m not opposed to short-term solutions, work on prescription drugs, a public option, but ultimately must have Medicare-for-all.”

Health Care Fights Did Sanders crack the door open for Republicans’ health care bill this time? Most of his colleagues say no; those who don’t reject the idea outright acknowledge that the GOP was never going to let the Sept. 30 reconciliation deadline pass without another run at health care, The Washington Post reported. Some Republicans have juxtaposed the new bill with last week’s unveiling by Sanders, of a measure embodying a liberal dream of government-run health insurance, a dramatic reshaping of the country’s health care system, The Associated Press reported.

Big Flaw in Cassidy-Graham Single-payer health care, in which the role of private health insurers is ultimately eradicated, has become the cause célèbre of the Democratic left. Sanders’s “Medicare for All” bill has more than a dozen co-sponsors. Under Cassidy-Graham, Democrats in a state such as New York could take their new block grant and use it to wipe out the private individual insurance market and replace it with a single, government-run insurance program, The Washington Post reported.

Polling on Single Payer With Sanders bringing his universal health-care plan to the fore last week, a poll found that people are evenly split over a “single payer” health-care system in which people would get insurance from a government plan financed by taxes. Some 47 percent said they favored a single-payer system, while 46 percent opposed such a plan, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

Sanders Enters New Territory With Wealth Tax When he introduced his Medicare-for-all bill last week, Sanders also put down on paper the idea he’s been talking about, sometimes loudly, sometimes with caution, other times not publicly at all, for more than 20 years: a “wealth tax” in the United States, Buzzfeed reported. 

RNC Targets Sanders Single Payer Plan Talking points put together by the Republican National Committee, which were obtained by The Daily Beast, ostensibly promote the health care overhaul written by Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham. But the top two sections of the document don’t address the bill at all, focusing instead on declaring Obamacare to be in a state of collapse and turning the current debate into a binary choice with Sanders’ single-payer bill, The Daily Beast reported.

Aetna CEO Slams Single Payer  Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, the third-largest health insurance company in the U.S., rejected the Medicare for All proposal released last week by Sanders and a group of 16 Senate Democrats. He at times used disparaging comments and outright falsehoods about neighboring countries’ national health systems to criticize the plan, The Intercept reported.

Electric Buses for Burlington Vermont’s congressional delegation announced that the Vermont Agency of Transportation will receive a $480,000 federal grant from the US Department of Transportation to purchase two electric buses that will be used by Green Mountain Transit in Burlington. In June, the Vermont delegation wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in support of the grant, Vermont Biz reported.

Editorial: Political Genius of Medicare for All “Canvassing his fellow senators, including those who have taken a wait-and-see approach, was key to Sanders’s ability to build a surprisingly broad base of support, as was the backing of dozens of outside groups, from to the Working Families Party to the United Mine Workers. That Sanders was one of the most vocal defenders of Obamacare—even as he consistently criticized it as insufficient—helped build credibility, too,” The Nation wrote.

Column: The Benefits of Medicare for All “Sanders is right. Given the growing costs and shrinking benefits of Obamacare, and the flame-out of ‘repeal and replace,’ America should transition to Medicare for All. Last week he introduced his Medicare for All Act of 2017, which would do exactly that, while retaining and improving Obamacare during a four-year transition,” Marcia Angell wrote for The Boston Globe.

Column: Sanders and Trump Can’t Pay For Promises ”Sanders and President Donald Trump have more in common than either would likely admit. For example, both have grand, ambitious plans they cannot pay for. Sanders would turn the U.S. health system into Medicare for All. President Trump wants historically large tax cuts for businesses and individuals. Achieving either would require trillions of dollars in new taxes or add trillions of dollars to the federal debt,” Howard Gleckman wrote for Forbes.

Fact Check: Administrative Costs Government and independent researchers corroborate the percentage figures Sanders cited on administrative costs for private insurance and Medicare, but the researchers who came up with the $500 billion savings admitted that "any such estimate is imprecise." Politifact rated his statement Half True.