March 19, 2019 | Updates

HEALTHY PERSPECTIVE: Rahm Emanuel Warns Fellow Dems On Dangers Of Medicare For All

In an op-ed for The Atlantic, former Obama White House Chief of Staff and House Democratic campaign chief Rahm Emanuel warns Democrats about the political risks of embracing Medicare for all-style proposals:

Earth to Democrats: Republicans are telling you something when they gleefully schedule votes on proposals like the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, and a 70 percent marginal tax rate.  When they’re more eager to vote on the Democratic agenda than we are, we should take a step back and ask ourselves whether we’re inadvertently letting the political battle play out on their turf rather than our own.

As USA Today reports, “Emanuel, who served as President Barack Obama’s first White House chief of staff, is far from the first political observer to predict that a leftward turn could hurt Democrats’ 2020 prospects.  But as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, Emanuel’s advice may carry added weight.”

Backing up Emanuel’s point, a recent Kaiser poll found that support for Medicare for all plummets once respondents learn it would require them to pay more in taxes, that it would eliminate the choice and control they have through employer-based coverage, would lead to delays for those seeking care or would threaten the current Medicare program.  And the same poll showed that voters – including most Democratic voters – want Congress to focus instead on protecting and improving upon what works in America’s health care system.

Emanuel joins a growing chorus of Democratic Party leaders expressing serious concerns about Medicare for all-style proposals.  Current House Democratic campaign chief Representative Cheri Bustos recently called Medicare for all “a little scary,” and even doubled down on the comment in an interview with CNN last week.  Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said to Rolling Stone when asked about Medicare for all: “And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for? … All I want is the goal of every American having access to health care.  You don’t get there by dismantling the Affordable Care Act … Anyway, this is not a bumper-sticker war – this is a complicated issue.”


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