Democrats Try ‘Medicare for All’ as New Messaging

John Garamendi (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Democrat California Congressman John Garamendi is trying to unite Democrats around the idea that the first thing they would do, if and when they recapture Congress and the presidency, is to pass “Medicare for All.”

The Democrats’ leaders have continued to declare that their losses in every special election during President Donald Trump’s first 200 days were not due to any middle-class problem, economic problem, national security problem, religion problem, illegal alien problem or any other policy problem. As Paul Waldman claimed in The Week last month, the only reason Democrats have a problem is that they “don’t have a bunch of simplified messaging and pithy slogans that describe their agenda.”

With 43 years of government experience, Rep. Garamendi served in the State Assembly and State Senate; was California Insurance Commissioner and Lieutenant Governor; and has been a congressman from Northern California since late 2009. During Garamendi’s entire political career, he has constantly pushed the for a single-payer healthcare system — but that message has gone nowhere.

Garamendi was an original cosponsor of H.R.676, known as the “Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act,” which was introduced on January 24 and now has 111 Democrat cosponsors, as well as the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Garamendi and Sanders argue that Medicare is more efficient than private insurance companies, because the tax system would automatically collect the money and there would be no need to pay for private commissions, advertising, or profits.

But seniors over 65 years of age, who know Medicare best, are strongly opposed to Medicare for All, according to poll data. That opposition comes after Obamacare robbed Medicare by cutting $220 billion in payments to health care providers; raising premiums by $136 billion for the Medicare Advantage program; and requiring $36 billion in premium increases for higher-income beneficiaries.

The Democratic Party may have been able to drive President Trump’s favorability down to 43 percent, according to Rasmussen polling. But a similar Rasmussen poll found only 15 percent of registered voters believe Congress is doing a good job.

Garamendi and Sanders want the Democrat Party to stand for something positive. Medicare for All may have opposition that would prevent it from ever being passed by Congress. However, its simplified message and its pithy slogan may give the left something positive around which to unite.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.