CNN: Medicare For All Has “Little Support From House Members Beyond The Most Reliably Democratic Districts”
As some Members of Congress introduced Medicare for All legislation in the U.S. House last week, POLITICO reported that they “hope[d] its unveiling will silence critics who have dismissed the idea as a little more than a catchy slogan.”
But despite the hype around its introduction, the legislation “boasts fewer co-sponsors than the 124 Democrats who signed onto a previous version of Medicare for All bill last year,” POLITICO noted, and the ensuing news coverage – focused on its massive price tag, lack of transparency over how it would be paid for, disruptions to Americans’ coverage and “muted” support – did little to provide its authors with hope.
So it’s no surprise that an analysis by CNN found that “[t]hough the single-payer idea is generating much more conversation than previously from prominent Democrats — including endorsements from several candidates seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination – it has attracted very little support from House members beyond the most reliably Democratic districts.” They report:
The vast majority, 103 of the [Medicare for All bill’s] supporters, represent districts that voted for Clinton over Trump in 2016 … Put another way, the cosponsors represent just over half of all the House Democrats holding districts that Clinton carried (103 of 204 in total). But they constitute fewer than 1 in 4 of those in Clinton-won districts where Trump captured at least 44% (four of 18.) And the cosponsors represent only about 1 in 16 of the Democrats from districts Trump carried (two of 31). The same imbalance is evident when looking at seats that Democrats flipped from Republican control last fall. Of the cosponsors, just seven represent districts that Democrats won from the GOP in 2018. That’s only about one-sixth of the 43 Democrats in all holding such seats in the House. (Four of the seven cosponsors in flipped seats are from California: Katie Porter, Katie Hill and Mike Levin, all in Southern California, and Harder, from the Central Valley.) By contrast, 98 of the sponsors represent districts that Democrats controlled before November. That’s just over half of all the Democrats in such seats.
And, as the report continues, “centrists skeptical of single-payer health care … say more discussion isn’t likely to erode the skepticism among Democratic members from more closely contested districts.”
In a study, the centrist Democratic group Third Way found that just two of the 92 Democrats in the most competitive House races last year ran ads endorsing Medicare-for-all, and both of those candidates lost. “None of the people that were able to win in tough districts in 2018 ran on Medicare-for-all, and the reason is that they can’t,” says Matt Bennett, Third Way’s executive vice president for public affairs. “People in those districts don’t support it.”
Democrats who delivered the House Majority last fall ran overwhelmingly on a platform of protecting and building upon what is working in our health care system, while coming together to fix what is broken. Or, as one prominent Democratic strategist recently put it to The New York Times: “Most of the freshmen who helped take back the House got elected on: ‘We’re going to protect your health insurance even if you have a pre-existing condition,’ not ‘We’re going to take this whole system and throw it out the window.’”