One of the biggest questions about Medicare for All from Democrats is about viability. Sure, it’s great to have a hypothetical debate about what system would produce the best outcomes while reducing costs and covering everyone, but how can it actually get done?
Whether you’re a diehard Medicare for All supporter, or just curious, here are seven questions and answers related to viability across the hundreds of Congressional races happening in 2018:
1. “What’s the realistic path to Medicare for All and single-payer?”
Step one: Vote for representatives who vocally support it
Step two: When they win, demand that they vote for H.R. 676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare for All
Step three: Get health coverage
2. “Who supports it in Congress?”
There are currently 121 co-sponsors of H.R. 676, roughly ⅔ of the Democrats in Congress.
There are 71 Democrats who have not co-sponsored M4A, roughly ⅓ of Democrats in Congress. Four of them are facing tough primary challenges from candidates who support M4A:
Incumbent: Nancy Pelosi
Primaried by: Stephen Jaffe, Ryan Khojasteh
Incumbent: Stephanie Murphy
Primaried by: Chardo Richardson
Incumbent: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
Primaried by: Tim Canova
Incumbent: Mike Quigley
Primaried by: Sameena Mustafa, Steve Scwhartzberg
3. “Isn’t it hard to raise money if you’re proposing to disrupt the insurance industry?”
There are 561 non-incumbent Democratic candidates running in Congressional primaries who raised at least $1,000 by December 31, 2017.
271 candidates proudly support M4A or Single-Payer Healthcare; they say the words clearly on their website, in ads, at public forums and in media interviews
290 candidates do not support M4A; they say some combination of
“universal access to ‘affordable’ coverage,”
“allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices,”
and “foster competition and innovation in the healthcare marketplace”
The Pro M4A Candidates Have Total Receipts of $55M, Total Disbursements of $21M
The Non M4A Candidates Have Total Receipts of $70M, Total Disbursements of $23M
Four of the top five raisers in the country support Medicare for All: Randy Bryce (WI-1), Andy Thorburn (CA-39), Gilbert Cisneros (CA-39) and Daniel Koh (MA-3).
4. “Are people really running on Medicare for All in swing districts?”
M4A isn’t just for “liberal” areas: candidates are staking their campaigns on it across the entire country. The Cook Political Report (an independent, non-partisan organization that analyzes elections) has flagged 94 Congressional Districts as “competitive” in 2018. Let’s see if there are M4A candidates in those races:
Likely/Lean Democratic Districts
51 Total Democratic Candidates (Including 13 Incumbents) in 23 Districts
27 Support M4A (2 Incumbents), $13M Raised, $4M in Disbursements
24 Do Not (11 Incumbents), $23M Raised, $6M in Disbursements
Democratic/Republican Toss Up Districts
80 Total Democratic Candidates in 23 Districts
33 Support M4A, $13M Raised, $5M in Disbursements
46 Do Not, $21M Raised, $6M in Disbursements
Likely/Lean Republican Districts
150 Total Democratic Candidates in 48 Districts
75 Support M4A, $13M Raised, $5M in Disbursements
75 Do Not, $22M Raised, $7M in Disbursements
Totals of Competitive Races
281 Democratic Candidates in 94 Districts
135 Support M4A, $39M Raised, $14M in Disbursements
145 Do Not, $65M Raised, $19M in Disbursements
5. “What about PACs and endorsing organizations?”
There’s a spectrum of support for Medicare for All across progressive advocacy groups, with two notable exceptions:
6. “Would Trump sign a Medicare for All bill?”
Probably not, but several of the most popular Democrats in the country who are considering running for President in 2020 already support Medicare for All:
Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand
Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Jeff Merkley
7. “Why do you care so much about Medicare for All? What’s in it for you?”
The short answer: A lot of people really need health care but are uninsured or underinsured, and Obamacare didn’t go far enough in helping.
The long answer: As millennial small business owners in upstate New York, we’re kind of screwed as health care consumers. We make too much to qualify for any major subsidies, but too little to pay hundreds of dollars a month. The coverage we could get, even under Obamacare, would require us to spend thousands to meet the deductible, and beyond that, there’s no guarantee that the procedures or therapies we need will be approved by for-profit insurance companies.
Whether or not we have coverage, an accident or illness could wipe us out. It’s a very real danger that prevents us from taking more risks to grow our creative marketing agency further, which hurts the local economy, which hurts the affordability of the housing market, which hurts the local government’s tax base, which increases the cost of living increase for everyone, which fuels gentrification and affordability issues… and, you get the idea.
This is why millennials are the least entrepreneurial generation of all time; ensuring our basic survival is risky enough. GoFundMe is our insurance: in our Congressional District alone, over $2M has been raised to cover medical expenses in the last two years. We wrote about it last year:
Bernie Sanders’ grassroots presidential run gave us a glimmer of hope: his signature popular policy proposal was Medicare for All. For many people on the left, it’s a litmus test for political candidates; for many independents and Republicans, it’s an appealing crossover policy that’s easy to understand: if you’re a sick, working class person, you can go to the doctor and receive care without worrying if you can afford it.
We also live in Congressional District New York 19, which is identified as one of the hottest battleground districts in the country, and the fight over Medicare for All vs. “universal access” to “affordable” “insurance” is a key issue in the Democratic primary. We’re happy to report that four of the six Democratic candidates working to beat the incumbent John Faso are strong Medicare for All supporters.
Seeing the M4A debate play out locally got us thinking: who else is running for Congress that supports it, and how much money have they raised? What about in the most competitive swing districts? Which groups are supporting these candidates? The result is the info you see above; our source spreadsheet is here.
Bonus Question: “Who are you?”
We are a creative marketing agency in the Hudson Valley that offers branding, marketing campaigns and web design and development. Since 2016, we’ve worked with five local progressive political candidates to help them get their message out with content creation, social media targeting and websites. We put out a really nerdy article about Facebook targeting in NY-19 here: