Dems Feign Backing Away From Medicare for All

The unpopularity of Sanders's socialist health plan has Democrats realizing that it's not a winning policy.

Thomas Gallatin · Aug. 21, 2019

In an effort to court the increasingly hard-left base of the Democrat Party, several current Democrat presidential candidates eagerly jumped aboard Sen. Bernie Sanders’s socialist bandwagon to cosponsor his Medicare for All bill two years ago. This represents the future, they all insisted, parroting Sanders’s insistence that health care is a right. The Medicare for All cosponsors touted their support for the socialist program … until recent polling data showed that a majority of Americans aren’t fans of the obvious policy boondoggle.

Now every Democrat presidential candidate save Sanders is running away from Medicare for All as if it were toxic sludge. Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), the first cosponsor of the bill, had been one of its most vocal supporters, but she has clearly struggled in her herky-jerky attempts to distance herself while attempting to claim that she was never fully onboard. “I have not been comfortable with Bernie’s [Medicare for All] plan,” Harris stated on Tuesday. This sentiment certainly doesn’t comport with her position back in 2017 when she defended cosponsoring the bill as “the right thing to do.” Nor does it jive with Harris’s claim this past April that “Medicare is the most popular health plan in the country because it works.”

But Harris isn’t the only Medicare for All cosponsor clearly flip-flopping, as Sens. Cory Booker (NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), and even Elizabeth Warren (MA) are also seeking to distance themselves from a politically unpopular policy.

So, are Democrats suddenly having a change of heart? Not likely. In truth, they’re merely realizing that despite all their moralizing rhetoric surrounding Medicare for All, the vast majority of Americans want to keep their current health insurance. Recently, Harry Reid, a political pragmatist if there ever was one, was asked whether Medicare for All is “problematic” for Democrats. “Of course it would be,” he answered. “How are you going to get it passed?” Reid further advised Democrats to run on the message of “improving ObamaCare” because, he argued, “People understand that. They would appreciate that. It locks in many important things.” That, by the way, is Joe Biden’s plan.

Many Democrat presidential candidates are attempting to rhetorically tack back toward the center. However, the question now is, having gone so far to the extreme Left, can they find their way back to even semi-reasonable ground without being exposed as complete sellouts willing to say anything to get elected? If Harris’s sinking poll numbers are any indication, then the answer is no.

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