Earlier this week, Senator Wyden (D-OR) laid out a marker on Medicaid for All:
Ron Wyden, who would be chairman of the Finance Committee w a Dem majority, says on m4a at axios event:
“My starting point when we’re in the majority” is “I’m going to support more Medicare-type choices.”
(ie not single payer)
— Peter Sullivan (@PeterSullivan4) November 13, 2019
This is important.
Significant institutional elements of the Democratic Party including the Speaker of the House, the Senator who would be the relevant committee chair in any scenario that could see M4A advance, and the marginal votes in any Senate that could plausibly advance M4A are all laying down major markers that they don’t want to go down this route. Instead incremental change and build-out of the ACA is the approach that they are on board with.
Part of that is that Medicare for All is seen as a base argument and not a swing voter argument. Part of it is that the 2018 elections did not demonstrate that M4A advocacy improved Democratic electoral chances. Alan Abramowitz at the Crystal Ball is laying out that argument:
A regression analysis comparing the performance of 2018 Democratic House candidates shows that those who supported Medicare for All performed worse than those who did not, even when controlling for other factors.
fully 73% of Democratic candidates in districts that Hillary Clinton won by a margin of at least 20 points supported Medicare for All. However, the data in Table 1 show that the lowest level of support for Medicare for All was not in strongly Republican districts but in districts that leaned Republican — those that voted narrowly for Donald Trump in 2016. These findings suggest that Democratic candidates were least likely to support Medicare for All in marginally Republican districts where it could reduce their chances of winning….
The results in Table 3 indicate that after controlling for all of the other variables affecting the outcomes of these contests, Democratic candidates who endorsed Medicare for All did significantly worse than those who did not. The estimated coefficient of -4.6 indicates that support for Medicare for All cost Democratic candidates in these competitive districts almost five points of vote margin — a substantial effect in a close election.
One of the key things that we need to remember is that the median House seat is several points more Republican leaning than the nation and the 51st Senate Seat is further to the right than the median House seat. The minimum winning Democratic coalition for Medicare for All or any other bill that is more ambitious than naming a post office requires a few dozen votes from people representing marginally Democratic turf to nominally lightly Republican districts. A 5 point penalty is a huge deficit to make-up elsewhere especially if there are other policy avenues that can accomplish most of the same goals at lower cost.