Sen. Cory Booker is throwing his support behind a “Medicare for all” bill being introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), becoming the latest Democrat floated as a 2020 contender to back the legislation.
The New Jersey senator told NJTV News that he would sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill, which is scheduled to be rolled out on Wednesday.
“This is something that’s got to happen. ObamaCare was a first step in advancing this country, but I won’t rest until every American has a basic security that comes with having access to affordable health care,” Booker told the New Jersey outlet.
He added that “you should not be punished because you are working-class or poor and be denied health care. I think health care should be a right to all.”
Booker’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about his decision.
Sanders put his push for a single-payer healthcare system at the center of his 2016 presidential bid, and he has pledged for months that he would introduce legislation.
The idea is also gaining traction within the Democratic Party and is emerging as a litmus test for potential 2020 presidential candidates.
In addition to Booker, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) are supporting Sanders’s legislation.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) also announced his support on Monday.
Booker had previously voiced some support for single-payer.
Asked on Twitter if he would support the government-run healthcare system, he said “there is great value if not justice In opening up Medicare to all” but Democrats should be focused on stopping the GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
Despite growing support from the party’s 2020 presidential crowd, Sanders’s push for a single-payer system doesn’t have unanimous support from the Senate Democratic caucus.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said earlier this year that it should be one of the options on the table.
And four Democrats up for reelection in states won by President Trump, as well as Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine), voted against a recent single-payer amendment offered by GOP Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.).
Daines’s amendment, which was expected to fail, was largely viewed as an attempt by Republicans to get Democrats to go on the record on the issue.