When John Conyers, a representative from Michigan who has fought for the rights and betterment of American citizens for decades, introduced a bill to create a single payer health care system last January, few people paid attention. He got the support of 171 of his colleagues in the House, but, as is often the case with federal legislation, it took a cosponsor in the Senate to get the bill noticed. And that’s where the politics gets interesting. The cosponsor was Bernie Sanders; despite his popularity among a large faction of Democrats, this sponsorship alone wasn’t enough. I think the ball really got rolling when Sen. Kamala Harris of California announced her support of Sanders’ bill a couple weeks ago. No doubt this reflected months of back channel discussions between Sanders and Harris aids, and as more Senate colleagues came on board, it looks like a coordinated effort. Now the list of supporters includes Cory Booker, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkeley ā€” eventually garnering 15 senators in all. There are a few likely presidential candidates in that mix, so their appearance and highly publicized press event promoting Medicare For All has long term significance.

So about that “ball rolling.” Where is it really going? I don’t get my hopes up much these days, because like Sara the Single Payer Cat appearing in this strip, I’ve seen a lot of hopes crushed by compromise and, well, the 2016 election. I’m glad there are politically powerful Democrats willing to make a push for single payer nowadays, and it probably took the repeal-and-replace debacle that provoked public outrage over defunding Medicare to make universal health care a feasible political position. I am very wary. Mildly hopeful? This is why Sara drinks.

 
↓ Transcript
Fetch and Sara the Single Payer Cat watch Bernie Sanders on TV.

Sanders: MEDICARE-FOR-ALL WILL SAVE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND MILLIONS OF LIVES.
Fetch: IS HE FOR REAL?
Sara: OH GOD. I'VE SEEN SO MANY HOPES CRUSHED.

Sara: IT WON'T PASS THIS CONGRESS OR PRESIDENT. MAYBE SOMEONE WILL RUN ON IT IN 2020.
Fetch: MAYBE! THEN WHAT?

Sara: THEN A UNITED DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT WILL FINALLY SUPPORT UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE.
Fetch: REALLY? WOW. LET'S GO OUTSIDE.

Fetch kneels and places a football upright on the ground.

Fetch: TRY TO KICK THIS FOOTBALL.
Sara: OH GOD! NOT AGAIN!

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