Sen. Bernie Sanders, once the gadfly long-shot contender for the 2016 Democratic nomination, is now a frontrunner in the 2020 primaries within the first quarter. And his signature issue -- an ambitious plan to supply health care to all Americans known as "Medicare for All" -- has won the support of several of Sanders' rivals for the Democratic nomination.
Sanders' reintroduced his Medicare for All bill on Wednesday. The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris -- all of whom are Democrats running for president.
Standing before a bevy of Medicare for All supporters, Sanders said in a press conference Wednesday that his bill would ensure that health care is treated as a universal right. Medicare for All would extend the popular health program for seniors to apply to every man, woman and child in the country.that Medicare for All would cover basic health needs, but not cosmetic issues.
"In my view, the American people are increasingly clear. They want a healthcare system that guarantees healthcare to all Americans as a right," Sanders said in the press conference Wednesday.
Sanders was not the only presidential candidate touting Medicare for All at the press conference. Gillibrand -- who has a far lower profile than Sanders and lags behind him in the polls -- gave a rousing speech on the topic, saying, "health care must be a right, not a privilege."
"This is a moment when we have to decide what kind of country do we want to be, and this is a decision that every one of us has to make now," Gillibrand said in her comments. "We have to say will we fight for this democracy, will we take back this democracy."
However, Republicans have been eager to seize on prominent Democrats' support of Medicare for All, which wouldto implement. Some of President Trump's supporters believe that Medicare for All will end up helping him in the election.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called Sanders' bill a "government takeover" which would make the U.S. a "socialist country."
"Democrats just announced their government takeover of healthcare plan which confiscates every American's private health insurance. Stand with President Trump so America will never be a socialist country!" Sanders wrote on Twitter.