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In 'Historic' Shift—and Catching Up With Voters—225 Democrats Running for Congress in 2018 Back Medicare for All

"Electoral candidates' increasing embrace of Medicare for All means the issue will be supercharged when the next Congress convenes."

Julia Conley

Kara Eastman is one of Democratic candidates running in typically red states and proudly supporting Medicare for All. More than half of all Democratic candidates support the proposal. (Photo: @karaforcongress/Twitter)

The majority of Democrats running in congressional races are banking not on centrist healthcare plans in the hopes of appealing to moderate voters, a new survey suggests—but on the increasingly popular Medicare for All proposal, which now has the support of a majority of Americans across the political spectrum.

National Nurses United (NNU) surveyed hundreds of Democratic House candidates and found that 52 percent of them proudly back a universal healthcare program in the form of Medicare for All. Running in races across the nation, 225 Democrats who will appear on ballots for national seats support the proposal.

"We're enormously pleased to see Democratic candidates in a majority of House races endorse the reform that will guarantee universal care without the devastating costs that threaten so many families," said Jean Ross, co-president of NNU, in a statement.

The news comes on the same day as the release of a Hill.TV and HarrisX poll which found that 92 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans support Medicare for All. Enthusiasm for the proposal is on the rise despite Republicans' efforts at fearmongering and warning against a system that would expand access to one of the country's most consistently popular social programs to all Americans.

Support for the proposal was seen among candidates running in solidly red states like Mississippi and West Virginia, where political pundits have frequently claimed bold progressive policy initiatives would find no backing.  

"The majority of Democrats are running on creating an America in which seniors no longer have to choose between buying groceries and getting the health care they need." —Nancy Altman, Social Security Works

"Electoral candidates' increasing embrace of Medicare for All means the issue will be supercharged when the next Congress convenes," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "But even more important is why these candidates are embracing it—because an increasing majority of Americans, with increasing passion, is demanding that the United States end the rationing of health care with a Medicare for All system."

With their explicit endorsements of Medicare for All, Democratic candidates are offering voters a stark contrast to the Republican Party's attacks on healthcare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatened earlier this month to make cuts to Medicare and Medicaid to offset the deficit that has exploded to $779 billion since President Donald Trump took office less than two years ago, thanks in part to that $1.5 trillion tax cut the Republicans passed last year, benefiting corporations and the wealthy. 

National Nurses United also pointed out that rising support for Medicare for All is coinciding with increased anxiety among Americans over healthcare costs. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found earlier this month that high premiums, deductibles, and medical bills are among voters' top economic concerns.

"Medicare for all strengthens Medicare politically, making it harder for Mitch McConnell and other Republicans to cut benefits, as they are threatening to do," said Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works. "In contrast, the majority of Democrats are running on creating an America in which seniors no longer have to choose between buying groceries and getting the health care they need."


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