Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) single-payer healthcare bill received a record number of co-sponsors after its unveiling this Wednesday, and Republicans are losing their minds.

 

Background:

Sanders’ revamped “Medicare for All” bill received the backing of 16 Senate Democrats Wednesday — a momentous improvement following his failed 2013 single-payer proposal. But the bill won’t pass, and Sanders knows it.

“Look, I have no illusions that under a Republican Senate and a very right-wing House and an extremely right-wing president of the United States, that suddenly we're going to see a Medicare-for-all, single-payer passed,” Sanders said, according to NPR. “You're not going to see it. That's obvious.”

But passing the bill was never the goal. It was about starting a dialogue.

“Why is the United States the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people?” asked Sanders. “Why are we spending far, far more per capita on health care than any other nation? Why do we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs?”

His ambitious plan splits the Democratic party, who are currently focused on protecting the Affordable Care Act and building centrist support. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi refused to support the bill, emphasizing states’ rights in her dismissal of Democrats potentially embracing a single-payer platform.

“The comfort level with a broader base of the American people is not there yet,” said Pelosi. “Doesn't mean it couldn't be. States are a good place to start.”

Public support for single-payer healthcare reform is, in fact, continually growing. But Republicans’ distaste for the measure has never been a secret.

“[It’s] a complete Washington takeover of America's health care system,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said of the proposal.

Sanders, spearheading a no-nonsense approach, effectively obliterated Barrasso’s argument.

“You, the Republican Party, have no credibility on the issue of health care,” said Sanders. “You … have shown the American people what you stand for when you voted for legislation that would throw up to 32 million Americans off the health insurance they have.”

 

What’s Happening Now:

Republicans are growing frantic, and even Trump is feeling the Bern. On Wednesday, President Tweets-a-lot condemned Sanders’ bill, calling it “a curse.”

It’s a dim-witted stance that echoes GOP leadership. After all, if they aren’t lining the pockets of CEOs and stockbrokers, where would the Republican Party get their funding?

But Trump’s scathing remarks hit an educated brick wall named Bernie, who was quick to dismantle the president’s unprecedented claims.

The brutal takedown encompasses Sanders’ most loved traits: quick wit, blunt rationale, and above all, common sense.

Wish we would’ve elected this man.

GOP officials have already begun labeling the measure “Berniecare” — a revival of the same failed smear tactic they brandished in an attempt to discredit the Affordable Care Act. Democrats wielded Republicans’ intended belittlement with pride, readily embracing “Obamacare.”

Still, it’s a long road ahead for Sanders, whose single-payer end goal is bound to meet scrutiny and skepticism in years to come. In a recent Vox interview, 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton provided personal anecdotes in her struggle to enact healthcare reform.

“I’ve been down this road,” said Clinton, referencing the Clinton administration’s healthcare reform efforts in the 90s. “We were facing the reality of not just strong, powerful forces but people’s own fears as well as their appreciation for what they already had.”

Luckily, many of the bill’s Democratic co-sponsors, including Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), may pursue presidential bids in 2020. Should one of these senators win the presidency, the U.S. may finally establish affordable healthcare for all.