Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Monday announced he would co-sponsor the “Medicare-for-all” bill being introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“Health care should be a right for every single American, not a privilege reserved for the healthy and the wealthy,” Merkley said in a statement.
“Right now, our health care system is incredibly complex, fragmented, and stressful. It would be terrific to have a simple, seamless system where, solely by virtue of living in America, you know that you will get the care you need.”
Merkley said the country has made “tremendous strides” in expanding access to health care.
“But many Americans still are rightfully frustrated by the cost and complexity of our current system,” he said.
“It’s time to simplify health care and lower patients’ costs, and embrace Medicare for All.”
Sanders on Monday thanked Merkley on Twitter for the support.
“Thank you @SenJeffMerkley for joining us in the fight to make Medicare for all a reality,” the Vermont senator said.
Other Democratic senators supporting the legislation include Cory Booker (N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.).
Sanders put his push for a single-payer health care system at the center of his 2016 presidential bid and has pledged for months to introduce legislation.