Next week, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce his long-awaited single-payer health care bill with a cadre of the Democratic 2020 prospects expected to sign on as co-sponsors. Not long afterward, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, another potential 2020 candidate, will propose an alternative: Allowing individuals and businesses to buy into Medicare.
Both ideas have, at times, been labeled "Medicare for all." But their differences also offer a glimpse at what's likely to be a defining debate within the Democratic Party in its next nominating contest: A full shift to a government health insurance system versus a partial step away from private markets.
It's possible for some Democrats to support both ideas. Murphy, in an interview with Politico
, portrayed his bill as a more politically practical bridge to Sanders' goal. "We're not going to pass a single-payer health care bill any time in the next few years. And so we need to have a conversation about how we get there," he said.
The intra-party debate will heat up when Sanders' bill drops in the coming days. California Sen. Kamala Harris
was the first to announce
she'd co-sponsor it. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Thursday in a fundraising email
that she'd co-sponsor Sanders' bill, too. She wrote: "Medicare for All is one way that we can give every single person in the country access to high quality health care. Everyone is covered. Nobody goes broke paying a medical bill. Families don't have to bear the costs of heartbreaking medical disasters on their own."
Now, 2020 watchers' eyes are on two other high-profile Democratic prospects — New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, both of whom have spoken supportively of the idea of single-payer health insurance recently — to see where they'll land.
News and notes:
BIDEN'S BEHIND-THE-SCENES MOVES
: Former Vice President Joe Biden
is keeping an active political calendar. Among the nuggets in The New York Times' Ken Vogel and Rachel Shorey story
: Biden's staff has reached out to top Democratic donors to set up one-on-one meetings. Biden met privately in May with leaders of nine new or emerging progressive groups. And his political action committee has paid $47,000 to Blue State Digital, the firm that worked for the two Barack Obama
FRANKEN BLOCKS TRUMP'S JUDGE PICK
: Minnesota Sen. Al Franken
is increasingly becoming a thorn in President Donald Trump
's side — and breaking with his fellow in-state Democrat
, Sen. Amy Klobuchar
. This week, he announced he is opposing Trump's pick for a federal judgeship in his home state because Trump's choice would "steer the already conservative Eighth Circuit even further to the right." Klobuchar says the nominee, state Supreme Court justice David Stras
, should get a hearing. Why Franken's position matters: Per Senate protocol, judicial nominees need both home-state senators' approval in order to move forward — a process known as "blue slipping."
THE HARRIS DODGE
: Kamala Harris
has played a leading role in the Democratic response to Trump's move to end DACA. But she dodged
when MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell
needled her about a potential 2020 presidential run. "Lawrence, I don't even know what I'm having for dinner," Harris said.
— Harris is hitting the fundraising trail this weekend. She'll be in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday night and Shaker Heights on Saturday with Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is up for re-election in the 2018 midterms.
FACEBOOK'S RUSSIA AD SALES
: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg
— whose travels have at times been viewed through the 2020 lens — now faces a big political problem: The social network sold ads to a Russian "troll farm"
during the 2016 presidential campaign. "This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Virginia Sen. Mark Warner
, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, who has been pressing Facebook for months
to cooperate with Russia investigators.
The week ahead:
— Saturday, September 9: Let America Vote president Jason Kander
is in Iowa to headline
the Cass County Democratic Party's fundraising dinner, starting at about 6 p.m. CT.
— Sunday, September 10: Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley
, Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack
, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
and Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden
headline the Progress Iowa Corn Feed, which kicks off
at 1 p.m. CT at the Simon Estes Amphitheater in Des Moines.
— Sunday, September 10: Former first lady Michelle Obama
participates in a moderated discussion at Beth El Synagogue in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The event
is at 7 p.m. CT.
— Monday, September 11: Jeff Merkley participates in a 9 a.m. CT town hall at Drake University's Cowles Library Reading Room in Des Moines.
— Tuesday, September 12: Hillary Clinton's new retrospective on the 2016 election, "What Happened," is officially released.
— Tuesday, September 12: New York City mayor Bill de Blasio faces four Democratic primary opponents, needing 50% to avoid a September 26 primary runoff, in his re-election bid.
— Saturday, September 16: Pardoned former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio keynotes the Conservative Leadership Conference awards dinner in Las Vegas.
— Saturday, September 16: Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and James Lankford of Oklahoma headline the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Fall Banquet in Des Moines.
— Sunday, September 17: Former Vice President Joe Biden
and his wife Dr. Jill Biden speak
at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Before you go:
for president? "Oh, that sounds like fun," the actor recently joked
. ... Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti
will make his movie acting debut with a cameo
as a high school principle in a "Valley Girl" reboot.