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After Bernie Jumps Gun on Single-Payer, He’s Ready to Double Down…on Free College

Bernie Sanders will hold a town hall on Tuesday to push his tuition-free college plans, after some Democrats grumble that Sanders jumped the gun with his single-payer health care plan.

Bernie Sanders on the DNC Unity Tour

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will hold a town hall in Vermont on Tuesday to push his plans for tuition-free college, doubling down on his strategy of pushing far-left ideas as some in the Democratic Party try to broaden the party’s appeal for 2018 and 2020 contests.

USA Today reported on the town hall:

Sen. Bernie Sanders will call for making public colleges and universities tuition-free at a town hall this week.

…Sanders introduced legislation in April to make public colleges and universities across the U.S. tuition-free for working families and to significantly reduce student debt. The legislation would eliminate tuition and fees at four-year and two-year public colleges and universities for families making up to $125,000 – about 80% of the population – and make community college tuition- and fee-free for all, according to a news release announcing the legislation attempt.

The push is guaranteed to put Sanders, a possible 2020 presidential candidate, back in national headlines. However, some Democrats grumble that the last time Sanders did that – to push for single-payer health care – he actually sparked another GOP attempt to repeal Obamacare.

From Politico:

Last week, a group of Senate Democrats rallied behind single-payer health care at a splashy news conference. This week, the same group is scrambling to beat back the GOP’s latest Obamacare repeal blitz.

The contrast shows the chasm between the two parties’ approach to health care: Republicans claim that Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” pitch fueled their revived repeal effort, an argument that even Democratic single-payer foes dismiss as untrue. Yet some Democrats wish more attention had been paid to protecting the Affordable Care Act before some of the party’s biggest names turned to single payer.

What’s more, Sanders’ push may run into a series of inconvenient truths. As NTK Network pointed out in April when possible 2020 contender Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) rolled out tuition-free college in New York, the policy is riddled with potential problems:

  • It’s expensive. New York’s program will cost $163 million per year, and USA Today noted Sanders’ plan may cost $47 billion per year.
  • The New York plan traps students with a big catch: “graduates have to stay in New York for four years after school, or pay the state back.”

What issue will Sanders jump the gun on next?