(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and 16 of his Democrat colleagues gathered at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to introduce legislation that will "end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all its people,” as Sanders put it.
One by one, the Democrat senators insisted that health care is a right, not a privilege, ending with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who promised women that Medicare-for-All would make federal abortion restrictions "history."
“I want to single out two groups of people,” Blumenthal said:
Number one, the women of America. They have been denied health care too long because of restrictions like the Hyde Amendment. Consider the Hyde Amendment history if we pass Medicare for All. And all those other restrictions on reproductive rights.
Passed by Congress in 1976, the Hyde Amendment bars the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Blumenthal also singled out opioid abusers, who "deserve" treatment and would get it under Medicare for all.
In addition to Sanders and Blumenthal, other senators signing on to Medicare-for-All include: Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Some of those Democrats are rumored to be considering a run for president in 2020.