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Reform Movement Considering Endorsement of Bernie Sanders “Medicare For All” Bill

Jacob Plitman
September 13, 2017

TODAY, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled his long-awaited “Medicare for all” health plan. The proposal would establish a universal system of health coverage for all Americans and entail enormous reform to the profit-driven health system as currently exists. While questions regarding funding of the program remain, the bill now boasts the support of nearly a third of the Senate’s Democratic caucus.

According to the Religious Action Center’s (RAC) Associate Director Barbara Weinstein, the Reform Movement -- America’s largest Jewish denomination and a longtime supporter of single payer healthcare -- is considering endorsing the bill.

Weinstein said that the Reform movement has supported a government-run single payer health system since at least 1975, when a resolution from the Reform Movement endorsed a “national comprehensive prepaid single benefit standard health insurance.”

The Reform movement was an important part of the effort to stop the Trump administration’s American Health Care Act earlier this year. “The huge response from the Jewish community this Summer against rolling back the Affordable Care Act shows that healthcare is one of our key priorities,” Weinstein said.

“The main thing is, how do we cover more people… if Senator Sanders’ proposal brings us closer to this goal, then that is certainly a positive development.” Weinstein added that the RAC is still reviewing the details of the bill.

The rest of the organized Jewish community’s stance on the bill is less clear. Jewish Currents reached out to the Orthodox Union and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, but they did not respond to requests for comment. Bend the Arc and The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism both declined to comment on the bill.

Jacob Plitman is an associate editor of Jewish Currents. He tweets at @jacobplitman.

Jacob Plitman was the publisher of Jewish Currents from 2017-2022, during which time he stewarded the relaunch of the magazine.