Over 60 House Democrats are forming a Medicare for All Caucus
After years on the fringe, Medicare for All is becoming a central plank of the Democratic Party. Dozens of Congressional Democrats are set to announce the formation of an official Medicare for All Caucus on Thursday, according to a source familiar with the plan.
The caucus is expected to have over 60 founding members, or approximately a third of the 193 House Democrats, with more expected to sign on in the coming weeks. More could join after the November midterms with many Democratic challengers embracing Medicare for All.
It’s just the latest instance of Democratic lawmakers embracing a single-payer healthcare system after decades of party leaders dismissing it as too left-wing and politically toxic in the face of Republican attacks.
“This is a sea change from just four or five years ago and people are more likely to see healthcare as a right,” said Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who will be a caucus co-chair along with Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Debbie Dingell of Michigan. Members of Congress will formally announce the caucus at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol along with representatives from National Nurses United, Social Security Works, and other progressive groups.
“The impetus for this caucus is to have a real discussion and work with our offices to see how a system would really work as we think about implementing it. It’s about a growing movement to bring a Medicare for All system into being,” Jayapal said, adding that she wants to caucus to work on having proposals ready if the Democrats take back control of the House in 2018.
Medicare for All became a divisive issue during the 2016 presidential primary race between Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, who has long advocated for the program, and Hillary Clinton, who dismissed it as too expensive and said it was politically “never, ever” going to happen.