In the wake of the November election and the collapse of efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, enacting single-payer health care ― one government insurer for all Americans ― has been steadily gaining steam as a priority for progressive activists.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ political action committee, Bold PAC, has sought to capitalize on the energy behind the so-called “Medicare for all” push with at least eight fundraising emails in the past few months that suggest contributing to the PAC will help advance single-payer legislation.
The emails frequently invoke Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is planning to introduce single-payer legislation in the coming weeks, after he mainstreamed the ambitious policy with his 2016 presidential bid.
The strategy is paying off: In a non-election year, the Bold PAC has already raised nearly $3.9 million ― including over $820,000 in contributions under $200. In the first quarter of 2017, it brought in over $2 million, breaking its previous fundraising record for a three-month period.
By contrast, the PAC raised about $6.1 million in the entire 2015-2016 election cycle ― a period when it had the benefit of national attention on a presidential race in which the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, was highly favored to win.
The trouble is, just half of the 30 full voting members of the Congress Hispanic Caucus have publicly endorsed single-payer health care. (The caucus has 31 members including Northern Mariana Islands Delegate Gregorio Sablan, but he does not have the authority to vote on legislation that makes it to the House floor.)
Of the 28 CHC members with full voting rights in the House, 15 are among the 117 co-sponsors of single-payer legislation introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).
The 13 CHC members in the House who have not signed onto the bill include Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), chair of Bold PAC and a member of House Democratic leadership; Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a nationally prominent former Texas state lawmaker, whose twin brother Julian Castro served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Barack Obama administration.
Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the two senators in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have not revealed whether they plan to support Sanders’ single-payer legislation or otherwise indicated it is a policy they…