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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: Why ‘Medicare for All (Who Want it)’ Is a Winner for Dems

There Really Shouldn’t Be Much Debate About This Anymore: The Correct Position on Medicare for All is Medicare for All (Who Want It)

This really isn’t a hard one. Or shouldn’t be. The evidence continues to pile up that Medicare for All in the Sanders-Warren sense is just not viable politically–while a Medicare option for anybody what wants it is wildly popular. The latest CBS News poll finds that a 66-30 majority would like to see a Medicare-type health insurance plan available to all Americans. But among that two-thirds who want to see Medicare availability for all, it’s 2:1 against having all private insurance replaced by the Medicare-type plan. That leaves the hardcore Medicare for All/the hell with private insurance crowd down to a little over 20 percent.

No wonder Warren was taking so much incoming from other Democrats at the latest debate on her support for Medicare for All and her unspecified methods of paying for it (for more on the cost issue, see Ron Brownstein’s latest Atlantic column). This is from other Democrats! The Republicans will make mincemeat out of her.

I’ll give the last word on this to the excellent David Leonhardt:

“The No. 1 reason to question her version of Medicare for All — in which private health insurance would be eliminated — is its political viability. It would be an enormous disruption to the health care system, and history shows that health care disruptions are very hard to pass and usually unpopular at first. Polls show that her plan is already unpopular, and it would be a bigger disruption than Obamacare or Bill Clinton’s failed plan.

Given all that, she needs to engage with the political realities — with how she would overcome people’s resistance to giving up their health insurance for a larger new program that, yes, would require a tax increase.

I think Warren has run an excellent campaign on the whole, and I think she has the most thoughtful agenda for addressing the stagnating living standards of most Americans. I’m surprised that she has chosen to focus so much of her candidacy on the most aggressive version of Medicare for All. But she has. Now it’s time for her to tell voters how she will deal with the politics of passing it.

In my view, her best answer involves finding a way to signal her openness to a transition, in which people who want to keep their private insurance can do so (and taxes don’t yet need to rise) while Medicare initially expands voluntarily. That idea is hugely popular.”

So that’s what she should do. We’ll see if she does it.

2 comments on “Teixeira: Why ‘Medicare for All (Who Want it)’ Is a Winner for Dems

  1. Victor on

    A robust public option should be enough to get rid of the private health insurance market.

    At the same time, the fact that moderate Democrats are choosing to focus on the how do you pay for it GOP messaging mantra shows that right wing talking points still dominate thanks to elites and the media.


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