Universal health care isn’t a new idea. Previous efforts go back to 1915 nationally. Employer-based health plans took off during World War II, and efforts to extend care more widely came and went for decades.
In the 1970s, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts advocated for a bill that would have provided Medicare for everyone. Since then, only a few measures have been introduced in Congress, and none garnered much attention. That is, until Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders began talking about single payer in 2013 and promoted the concept in his 2016 presidential campaign and in a bill he introduced last fall.