Democratic Presidential Candidates Back Away From Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders participates in a Presidential Candidates Forum at the NAACP.
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Medicare for all, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ signature proposal, is a universal healthcare plan that would do away with private health insurance and provide healthcare for every American.

As Business Insider reported, studies have shown that the plan would save money if implemented, and that the federal government would end up spending less money than it currently spends.

To pay for the plan, Sanders would raise taxes across the board, but there would be no co-pays or deductibles, which would make the plan cheaper than the current system, even for the average American, according to Common Dreams.

Healthcare has long been a top issue for American — in particular Democratic — voters, and according to polls the vast majority of Americans supports Sanders’ Medicare for All. For instance, a Reuters-Ipsos poll released in August of 2018 found that the proposal is supported by 85 percent of Democrats, and 52 percent of Republicans.

The immense popularity of Sanders’ plan has effectively forced other Democrats in the race to embrace it, and some have even co-sponsored his legislation. However, almost everyone but Sanders has started to back away from Medicare for All, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

Representatives Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard, along with Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand — all of whom are running for president — co-sponsored Sanders’ bill, but no longer seem to support it.

“Many candidates wanted to position themselves with the vast majority of Democratic primary voters by supporting real Medicare for All,” Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to the Sanders campaign, reflected.

“It was a recognition that the center of gravity in the party has moved in a much more progressive direction,” he explained.

As Bloomberg notes, during this week’s Democratic debates in Detroit, almost everyone but Sanders backed away from the plan, embracing more conventional, Obamacare-like policies that would preserve private health insurance.

Front-runner Joe Biden has suggested that improving Obamacare would be the best way to go.

California Senator Kamala Harris — who fully backed Sanders’ plan during an earlier debate, calling for private insurance to be abolished — flip-flopped on the issue, later stating that she had misheard the question.

On July 29, Harris introduced a plan of her own. Vastly different from Sanders’ plan, her healthcare plan is also called Medicare for All, but it allows private health insurance and would be phased in for over 10 years.

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Progressives criticized the senator for essentially hijacking the valuable brand, accusing her of confusing voters.

Apart from Sanders, only Elizabeth Warren seems to be on board with Medicare for All.

“The markets, they’re sucking value out without delivering the health care we need,” she said in July, arguing against a marketplace-based healthcare system.