Previously, a Medicare-for-all health care system had been mostly considered a fringe idea on the left.
But over the last couple of years, the idea of Americans getting insurance from a single government insurance plan, or single-payer, has taken off in popularity. According to a recent poll, 52 percent of Pennsylvanians support Medicare-for-all, while 29 percent oppose it.
State Democrats are joining the public. Progressive candidates like Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee won competitive primaries while advocating for Medicare-for-all. Moderate Democratic state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl said he would support single-payer if Democrats took control of the legislature. Even Democrats running in very red districts, like Terri Mitko in Beaver County, are considering backing single-payer.
State Republicans, on the other hand, are attacking Democrats for their support. Mailers linked to GOP state Senate candidate Jeremy Shaffer’s campaign called his Democratic opponent, Lindsey Williams, a radical for her single-payer support.
For Medicare-for-all to stand a chance at becoming a reality, Democrats must take the state House and Senate, and then some. Even then, it would be a heavy load with several details to finalize. And it’s still unclear where Gov. Tom Wolf stands on the issue, but rapidly growing public pressure could be persuasive.
Champions: State representatives-elect Sara Innamorato (D-Lawrenceville) and Summer Lee (D-Swissvale); State Reps. Austin Davis (D-McKeesport), Ed Gainey (D-East Liberty), Dan Frankel (D-Squirrel Hill)
Opponents: All Allegheny County Republicans
Integral Candidates: Jon McCabe (D-Lower Burrell), Lindsey Williams (D-West View), support and running in GOP-held districts.
“The more people understand it, the more they realize it is a good way forward,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills) of Medicare-for-all.
By the Numbers: national single-payer: $32 trillion in new government health-care spending, over 10 years; 30 million more Americans covered; $2 trillion in overall government savings; according to a conservative think tank.