Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced Wednesday that she is co-sponsoring Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “Medicare-for-All” bill, Vox reports.
Speaking at a town hall in Oakland, Harris became the first Senate Democrat to back Sanders’ single-payer bill.
The bill is expected to be released in September.
“I’ll break some news: I intend to co-sponsor the Medicare-for-All bill because it’s just the right thing to do,” Harris said at the town hall.
“Somebody should tell my staff,” she added with a laugh.
“It’s so much better people have meaningful access to affordable health care at every stage from birth on,” she said. “This is about understanding health care should be a right, and not a privilege.”
Harris is widely seen as a likely 2020 presidential candidate with many Hillary Clinton donors already seemingly lining up behind her.
Clinton said during the 2016 campaign that Sanders’ single-payer plan would “never, ever happen.”
The Democratic Party appears to be moving away from Clinton’s pessimistic view.
While Harris is the first to publicly back Sanders’ proposal, other likely 2020 candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand, have come out in favor of single-payer healthcare.
More than half of House Democrats have signed on to Michigan Rep. John Conyers’ single-payer bill as well.
“During Obama’s term, Democrats were uncomfortable with anything that might look like something other than full-throated support of the Affordable Care Act, and they didn’t want to do anything that might undermine the president,” Conyers’s senior legislative assistant Dan Riffle told Vox earlier this year. “But many members who weren’t on the bill, who have had their phones ringing off the hook, are now expressing interest. It’s percolating from the ground up.”