Medicare was signed into law by then President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. On the 50th anniversary of Medicare at a rally on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called for the universal expansion of the social assistance program. The event was organized by National Nurses United and attended by other labor unions. Sanders also indicated his plans to introduce legislation that would make healthcare a right. His support of Medicare expansion and plans for healthcare separate him from his rivals for the democratic presidential nomination.
A single-payer system could reduce costs by negotiating the price of medications with manufacturers, which Medicare is currently prohibited to do. Sanders stands by this system, criticizing insurance and pharmaceutical companies for inflating healthcare costs. Sanders said in a statement released recently that, "Medicare provides health care to 51 million American seniors and people with disabilities and has saved the lives of countless Americans." Sander's position is not new but it could play a significant role in deliberations over the Democratic presidential primary endorsement.
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