The move toward unifying the Democratic Party behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued Saturday.
Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is calling for a large expansion in funds for community health centers, as well as public options for insurance coverage.
The news drew cheers from Clinton’s rival in the primary process, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who said the the proposal was developed in conjunction with his campaign.
“I congratulate Secretary Clinton for this extremely important initiative. It will save lives. It will ease suffering. It will improve health care in America, and it will cut health care costs,” Sanders said. “It is a significant step forward as we advance toward the goal of health care for all Americans.”
Sanders said he and Clinton were, “coming closer and closer together in trying to address the major issues addressing this country.”
[ Related: Sanders, Clinton Meet to Discuss Platform ] “Hillary will pursue efforts to give Americans in every state in the country the choice of a public-option insurance plan, and to expand Medicare by allowing people 55 years or older to opt in while protecting the traditional Medicare program,” the campaign announced in a fact sheet released Saturday.
According to the campaign, Clinton’s proposal would require extending existing Obamacare mandatory funding for community health centers, and expanding it by some $40 billion over the next decade.
“Already, the Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage to 20 million Americans,” Clinton said in a statement. “As president, I will make sure Republicans never succeed in their attempts to strip away their care and that the remaining uninsured should be able to get the affordable coverage they need to stay healthy.”
The Saturday announcement came as Democratic delegates were working through amendments to the party platform during the final drafting meeting in Orlando, Fla.
It was the second time in recent days that Sanders spoke to reporters to praise a policy position of the former Secretary of State, who he has yet to endorse despite previously signaling that he ultimately expects to vote for Clinton in November.
Sanders also praised a plan released by the Clinton campaign on July 6, designed to address access to higher education.
The Sanders campaign also praised the adoption of a proposal regarding the path to a $15 minimum wage by the platform committee in Orlando.
“We should raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over time and index it, give all Americans the ability to join a union regardless of where they work, and create new ways for workers to have power in the economy so every worker can earn at least $15 an hour,” said an amendment to the platform adopted during a Friday night session.
In a Saturday news conference, he would not confirm reports that he was planning to appear with Clinton on Tuesday at an event in New Hampshire or elsewhere on the campaign trail. But he didn’t do anything to tamp down the speculation, either.
“I think we have made some real progress in terms of revolutionizing the funding of higher education in America and lowering the level of student debt. And I applaud Secretary Clinton very much for that proposal, which she released last week. I think today’s proposal is a very significant way of moving toward universal primary health care,” Sanders said. “We look forward to continue working with the Clinton campaign, and we’ll have more to say as to where we go forward in the near future.”