Sanders Inclusion in Health Care Debate Riles Dems

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders / Getty Images
September 21, 2017

CNN's announced debate over the new GOP health care bill has left congressional Democrats and reporters aghast at Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I., Vt.) presence on the stage.

The debate, pitting bill authors Sen. Linsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R., La.), against Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and Sanders, will take place Monday at 9:00 p.m., CNN announced.

Graham and Cassidy's bill is aimed at rolling back Obamacare ahead of the simple-majority reconciliation deadline on September 30. It focuses primarily on devolving responsibility for health care to the states. Sanders, meanwhile, has spearheaded efforts to introduce a "Medicare-for-all" healthcare system in a bill backed by 15 of his Senate colleagues.

Sanders' support for a single-payer system is part of why his presence in the debate is alarming Democrats. The Republican National Committee's talking points in support of the Graham-Cassidy bill make extensive reference to Sanders and his alternative proposal.

Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Topher Spiro, a leading voice on Twitter in support of Obamacare, thinks the debate will do harm to its chances of survival.

Tommy Vietor, an Obama speechwriter, also expressed frustration with the news of the CNN debate.

Some journalists reported that Democrats expressed frustration over the debate.

And journalists in general suggested that fielding Sanders was a bad idea for Democrats.

The debate will be broadcasted live from Washington, D.C. CNN’s Jake Tapper will moderate, alongside CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.