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Freshman Democrat with White House Hopes Backs Bernie’s Single-Payer Plan

Kamala Harris has no intention of waiting in line to run for president, so she started the Democratic primary in August 2017

Kamala Harris 2020

At a town hall meeting in Oakland, California, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) essentially kicked off the 2020 Democratic primary for president when she announced her support for fellow Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “Medicare for All” proposal.

“Medicare for All,” a proposal Sanders is expected to bring to the Senate floor next month, would move U.S. health care from private insurance companies to a single-payer system in which the government controls Americans’ health care. Sanders’ proposal is not expected to pass the Republican-controlled Senate, let alone the House.

But symbolically, “Medicare for All” shows just how far the Democratic Party has moved to the left in recent years. When Obamacare was passed in the Senate on Christmas Eve 2009 without a single Republican vote, a single-payer system was shot down as too extreme.

But now it’s a political launching pad. Harris’s support for single-payer, a prosal for which Sanders has all but admitted he has no plan to pay for, is a political maneuver designed to outflank her fellow Democrats.

To get a sense of the impact of Harris’s announcement on the political world, here are just a few of the headlines generated by the freshman senator’s remarks:

Los Angeles Times: Sen. Kamala Harris plans to back Medicare-for-all legislation

Sacramento Bee: Kamala Harris joins with Bernie Sanders to back ‘Medicare-for-all’ health care bill

CNN: Kamala Harris to co-sponsor Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care bill

The Daily Beast: Is Kamala Harris’ New Medicare-for-All Push a 2020 Sign?

CBS News: Kamala Harris says she’ll co-sponsor single-payer health care bill

Though only a few months into her first term, mainstream media outlets have gone out of their way to promote the California Democrat as a potential 2020 contender. But not everyone on the left is feeling inspired by the former California attorney general. A New York Times profile in July included quotes from Sanders supporters blasting Harris as too establishment.

Perhaps Harris believes this giant leap to the left on health care will allay their fears.