At a town hall Wednesday night, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced she will co-sponsor Senator Bernie Sanders single-payer health care bill. This is her first public endorsement of a government single-payer system.

Harris has called single-payer good in theory in the past. But in front of constituents, she called Sanders' 'Medicare for all bill' "the right thing to do," and declared health care a right, not a privilege. She echoed such sentiment in a tweet on Thursday.

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Bernie in action

Senator Sanders (I-VT) made single-payer health care a key pillar of his 2016 presidential run. This and other progressive ideas made for surprising success and enthusiasm, even in a losing effort. Following Republicans' failure to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Sanders announced he would introduce a 'Medicare for all' health care bill.

Sanders thanked Harris for her endorsement of his bill in a tweet on Thursday.

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Single-payer gaining steam

Only a year and a half after Hillary Clinton infamously decreed to an Iowa crowd that single payer will 'never, ever come to pass', single payer is gaining momentum among Democrats. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has previously called for a move to single payer, government-run health insurance.

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Democratic Party

Rhode Island senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse have shown support for such a system as well.

Recently, Senator Kristen Gillibrand of New York has begun backing single-payer. In a Facebook Live video in June she stated, "Health care should be a right, it should never be a privilege. We should have Medicare for all in this country."

On the House side, Michigan Democratic Representative John Conyers' single-payer bill, titled the United States Nation Health Care Act, has the support of more than half of House Democrats.

What's to come?

Sanders' 'Medicare for all' bill is set for a vote in the Senate in September. Even if the Democrats vote in favor of the bill unanimously, they still won't have the number necessary to pass it. However, this bill will certainly test the progressive nerve of Senate Democrats.

The bill will put pressure on Senate Republicans, who have been unable to pass a repeal of Obamacare nor present a comprehensive health care reform bill.

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Medicare is one of the country's most popular programs, bipartisanly. Recent studies from Pew Research show 60% of Americans believe the federal government should provide health insurance.

2018 and 2020

Clinton's struggles against Sanders in the primary and her eventual loss to Donald Trump in the general election should have sent a clear message to the Democratic Party: present a clear, populist message...

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or lose.

The single-payer system has become somewhat of a litmus test for Democrats, and Harris' endorsement of it may be seen as a launching pad for a rumored 2020 presidential run.

Pushing for single-payer health care reform now will serve to show that Democrats can actually walk the walk, rather than talking empty platitudes. And any Democratic Senator who does not sign on to this bill can expect pressure from the Justice Democrats and those alike.

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