After the 2018 elections were over, we calculated that there were about 130 Democrats elected to Congress who either already were co-sponsors of Medicare for All (H.R. 676), or signaled clear support for Medicare for All during their campaigns.
Last week, when Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) introduced 2019’s version of Medicare for All (H.R. 1384), the bill had 106 co-sponsors, 103 of whom had votes that counted. It’s another painful but important lesson about the limits of politely pushing elected officials to the left; just because they co-sponsor or promise to support legislation doesn’t mean they’ll actually stick around or expend any political capital to make it happen.
First of all, let’s give a modicum of credit to three Democrats who have surprisingly signed on to co-sponsor after ambiguously supporting Medicare for All during their campaigns:
Joseph Kennedy III (MA-04)
Bill Keating (MA-09)
Susan Wild (PA-07)
Let’s hope they stay aboard and are willing to fight for single payer.
Dropoffs from H.R. 676
26 Democrats declined to support this version of Medicare for All after previously co-sponsoring H.R. 676.
|Representative||Washington DC Office Phone #|
|John Garamendi (CA-03)||(202) 225-1880|
|Doris Matsui (CA-06)||(202) 225-7163|
|Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18)||(202) 225-8104|
|Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)||(202) 225-3072|
|Brad Sherman (CA-30)||(202) 225-5911|
|J.Luis Correa (CA-46)||(202) 225-2965|
|Al Lawson (FL-05)||(202) 225-0123|
|Darren Soto (FL-09)||(202) 225-9889|
|Kathy Castor (FL-14)||(202) 225-3376|
|Theodore E. Deutch (FL-22)||(202) 225-3001|
|Sanford D. Bishop (GA-02)||(202) 225-3631|
|David Loebsack (ID-02)||(202) 225-6576|
|John A. Yarmuth (KY-03)||(202) 225-5401|
|Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07)||(202) 225-4741|
|G.K. Butterfield (NC-01)||(202) 225-3101|
|David E. Price (NC-04)||(202) 225-1784|
|Albio Sires (NJ-08)||(202) 225-7919|
|Donald S. Norcross (NJ-01)||(202) 225-6501|
|Hakeem S. Jeffries (NY-08)||(202) 225-5936|
|Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)||(202) 225-4146|
|Dwight Evans (PA-03)||(202) 225-4001|
|James E. Clyburn (SC-06)||(202) 225-3315|
|Jim Cooper (TN-05)||(202) 225-4311|
|Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)||(202) 225-8885|
|Filemon Vela (TX-34)||(202) 225-9901|
|Gwen Moore (WI-04)||(202) 225-4572|
Daniel Marans of Huffington Post did some fast legwork to catch up with some of these H.R. 676 dropoffs. Here are some receipts of them talking about Medicare for All in the past:
— John Garamendi (@JohnGaramendi) September 13, 2017
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) June 16, 2017
— Big Bend DPC (@BigBendProgress) April 19, 2017
Mr. President, if you’re sick of huge insurance company profits and want health care for everybody, I have a plan for you: Medicare for all. pic.twitter.com/gPVPbom7MF
— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) October 13, 2017
The 1% in Philly make an average of $1,145,336 while the avg median household income is a little more than $41,000. The income gap is astounding!
My constituents want #MedicareForAll and a living wage to survive!
— Dwight Evans (@RepDwightEvans) July 27, 2018
Three Democrats signaled support for Medicare for All during their campaigns but have not yet signed on to H.R. 1384: Gil Cisneros, Harley Rouda and Sylvia Garcia.
All three won heavily contested primaries against other Democrats who also promised to support single-payer. Did they co-opt progressive language to get elected, shutting out more earnest candidates in the process?
Gil Cisneros (CA-39)
Cisneros was one one of five candidates in the seven-way CA-39 Democratic Congressional primary who said they supported single-payer healthcare, and won 19% of the vote to advance to the general election. The other four candidates were Julio Casteneda (dropped out), Andy Thorburn (9%), Dr. Phil Janowicz (dropped out), and Sam Jamaal (5%).
Here he is on video raising his hand (14:55) when asked if he’d support single-payer:
After beating four other Democrats who also said they supported single-payer, Cisneros pivoted away closer to the general election.
Harley Rouda (CA-48)
Rouda was one of four candidates in the CA-48 Democratic Congressional primary who supported single-payer. The others were Omar Siddiqui, Hans Keirstead and Michael Kotick.
Rouda eked out a tiny, 125-vote win over Keirstead in the primary, picking up about 17% of the vote. Siddiqui got 5% of the vote and Kotick got 1.5% of the vote.
On October 20, 2017, Rouda posted a link on Facebook, asking supporters to sign his petition in support of Medicare for All. On November 3, 2017, he tweeted:
I support Single Payer.
— Harley Rouda (@HarleyRouda) November 4, 2017
In November of 2018, Pramilia Jayapal’s Medicare for All PAC tweeted an endorsement of Rouda, listing him alongside Andrew Gillum, Josh Harder, Katie Porter, Mike Levin, Katie Hill, Kara Eastman and Liz Watson as candidates who were “committed to making Medicare for All a reality.”
.@HarleyRouda knows that Medicare for All is the best way to ensure EVERY American has access to high-quality health care, regardless of their age or the size of their wallet. We’re proud to endorse Harley for Congress in #CA48. pic.twitter.com/6A7UKmD7Lp
— Medicare For All PAC (@medicare4allpac) November 2, 2018
Sylvia Garcia (TX-29)
Garcia was one of seven Democratic candidates for TX-29, getting 60% of the vote. At least two other candidates, including the top runner up, Muhammed Javed, supported Medicare for All on the campaign trail.
On the issues page of her campaign website, Garcia wrote about taking the healthcare fight to Washington, concluding, “I will fight for Medicare for All.”
The 103 Medicare for All Co-Sponsors*
103 Democrats signed on after campaigning on Medicare for All or previously co-sponsoring H.R. 676.
15 of them are new members of Congress:
88 were re-elected incumbents who previously were co-sponsors of H.R. 676.
Alma S. Adams
Nanette Diaz Barragan
Donald S. Beyer
Anthony G. Brown
David N. Cicilline
Katherine M. Clark
Yvette D. Clarke
Danny K. Davis
Peter A. DeFazio
Eliot L. Engel
Marcia L. Fudge
Raul M. Grijalva
Alcee L. Hastings
Sheila Jackson Lee
Henry C.”Hank Johnson
Robin L. Kelly
James R. Langevin
Brenda L. Lawrence
Alan S. Lowenthal
Nita M. Lowey
Carolyn B. Maloney
James P. McGovern
Gregory W. Meeks
Grace F. Napolitano
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Donald M. Payne
Bobby L. Rush
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
Linda T. Sanchez
Janice D. Schakowsky
Adam B. Schiff
Robert C.”Bobby” Scott
Jose E. Serrano
Bennie G. Thompson
Marc A. Veasey
Nydia M. Velazquez
Peter J. Visclosky
Bonnie Watson Coleman
Frederica S. Wilson