HEALTHY PERSPECTIVE – House Dem: Americans Won’t Embrace “Hard Line” Approach On Health Care
There’s been no shortage of attention paid to Medicare for All-style proposals. But as The Washington Post reports, the “increasingly liberal bent” of some Democrats on divisive issues such as health care is “creating dilemmas” for House leaders and the Members in swing districts who delivered the Majority to the party last fall. This includes the platform of eliminating our nation’s health care system and starting from scratch with Medicare for All, instead of fulfilling the promise to protect what is working and fix what is broken in our current system.
As U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) explained to The Post:
“We won the House through the middle,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who co-leads the Problem Solvers Caucus. “Our party has to be open and recognize that. And if we don’t and insist that everyone takes a hard line view on everything, (a) I don’t think that’s going to attract votes in the next election, and (b) it puts our majority at risk.”
Gottheimer’s comments are the latest reminder that the Democratic House candidates who delivered the majority in 2018 did not run on Medicare for All. In fact, not a single one of the 11 Democratic candidates who won in House districts where a majority of voters supported Republican presidential candidates in the past decade support Medicare for All and 74 percent of all House Democrats who won seats in Republican-leaning districts do not support Medicare for All. Not one of the four non-incumbent Democrats who won statewide races last November in states President Donald Trump carried in 2016 supports Medicare for All. Instead, Democrats netted 40 U.S. House seats largely on an agenda of protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions and other policies aimed at preserving and strengthening our current health care system.
- As The New York Times reports: “Candidates who delivered the House majority largely hailed from the political center, running on clean-government themes and promises of incremental improvement to the health care system rather than transformational social change.”
- While a report issued by Third Way takes a look at November’s midterm results in early 2020 presidential primary states and finds: “In 2018, Democrats won all six competitive House races in the four early primary states … Not a single one of these winning candidates was a far-left populist … They ran not on a Democratic Socialist agenda but on mainstream and moderate solutions to the problems that most vex their constituents: [such as] healthcare affordability and access … Healthcare dominated, and every single one of these successful Democrats focused on voters’ core interests like access and reducing cost, as well as preserving seniors’ earned benefits of Social Security and Medicare. None of the six supported single-payer healthcare.”
As one prominent Democratic strategist put it to The 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.’”