Bernie Sanders wants to lead Senate Health Committee in Medicare-for-all push
Ulysses Gucciardi | USA TODAY
Washington — Bernie Sanders is in a strong position to lead the Senate Health Committee in his push to lead the Senate to a national health care program, as other senators get into public view.
After months of being overshadowed by the issue of Medicare-for-all, Sanders is poised to have a strong hand in setting Senate policy as President Donald Trump continues his push to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., an influential member of the committee, said he is impressed with how Sanders has handled the pressure to join the health care push, which he says is in the crosshairs of the president.
“He has been a partner in this,” Markey said. “And I think that’s been a real turning point in terms of his relationship with the administration. He’s really taken on a leadership role in terms of his commitment to making sure this is a top priority of the administration.”
If Sanders and other senators approve the legislation, Sanders would lead a committee that oversees programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, which would be the most powerful committee in the Senate.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who sits on that committee, said the move would help Sanders’ brand as a progressive leader.
“It’s a major achievement of him being able to get on the board,” Wyden said in an interview with USA TODAY. “The last thing we need is another politician who says, ‘My party’s agenda is best for me,’ on the Senate side.”
Wyden, who has served on a panel focused on health care for years, said he thinks Sanders has made progress after months of public relations mishaps over the issue.
“I think he has been able to take the brunt of it, which he was never going to take,” Wyden said. “And that’s the reason why it’s a very important role for him to be able to take the leadership on this.”
Sanders in a recent Senate floor speech said it is now up to him and the other Senate