Two Weeks out from Midterms, Gillum Moderates Position on Medicare for All
TAMPA — In a contentious first debate between the two Florida gubernatorial candidates in Tampa this week, Republican Ron DeSantis repeatedly pressed Democrat Andrew Gillum on his support for Medicare for all, as the Democratic candidate made a notable shift away from his previous hardline stance to more moderate ground. The closely-watched nationally televised debate featured relentless attacks by both candidates, but the topic of healthcare featured prominently as the fate of millions of Floridians’ potential access could hinge on the outcome of the race.
Medicare is a federal program, and in order to expand it, not only would both the House and Senate need to pass legislation, but President Trump would also need to sign it into law. This is unlikely and a state governor would have little influence over the process. However, the discussion taking place is indicative of the leftward push of many in the Democratic base.
DeSantis repeatedly asked Gillum about his support for Medicare for all, a federal proposal to expand healthcare to every American under the program.
“Would you sign the bill for single-payer health care?” DeSantis asked.
Gillum deflected, responding that he supports expanding Medicaid to 800,000 Floridians under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which included significant subsidies for states to implement the program on behalf of its poorest residents. DeSantis has indicated he would not expand the program in Florida.
The back-and-forth continued with DeSantis claiming support for protecting the healthcare of people with pre-existing conditions, despite repeatedly taking votes to repeal the ACA during his time in Congress. Prior to the implementation of the ACA, patients had few guarantees that pre-existing conditions would be covered when shopping for healthcare plans.
The heated debate surrounding healthcare is representative of the conversation playing out in elections across the country. As Republicans in Congress and the White House have worked to undermine key protections and oversight, conservatives continue to call for repeal of the ACA. On the flip side many progressive Democrats are pushing to expand the Medicare program – currently available only to adults aged 65 and over – to all Americans.
Healthcare has played a key role in congressional and presidential elections for over a decade, as rising costs and diminishing access to care have pushed the issue to the forefront of electoral politics. In the 33 states (including DC) that have expanded Medicaid, many of those who benefit are unemployed or working in low-paying jobs that do not offer employer-based healthcare.
Medicare for all would change the healthcare landscape in America drastically. While some elected officials advocate providing all Americans access to the popular federally administered senior program, others have voiced concerns about the potential costs of such an expansion, in addition to the impact on the private health insurance system, which employs more than 2.5 million people nationwide.
In The News
Tobias Read chuckled. The Oregon state treasurer wasn't long into a conversation when his caller asked why it is that his colleagues in government speak so highly of him. After a self-effacing pause, Read said he's just been lucky. "I was lucky enough to have parents... Read More
After a relatively quiet start to the month, oral arguments resume before the U.S. Supreme Court next week with several noteworthy cases on the docket. As is their custom, the justices have scheduled hearings on cases that resolved splits among the nation’s circuit courts on applicable... Read More
This week, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Pat Toomey R-Pa., announced the introduction of the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act, legislation that would support small businesses by removing burdensome restrictions from individuals who want to invest in startups and help create jobs. In... Read More
A bipartisan quartet comprised of lawmakers from both the House and Senate have reintroduced a bill intended to protect state-legal cannabis businesses from federal interference. The bill, also known as the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, allows states to determine their own... Read More
After weeks of contentious debate in the state legislature, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp last week signed legislation that will replace the state's electronic voting machines with a new system that produces a back-up paper ballot. The legislation, House Bill 316, was introduced with Kemp’s support after... Read More
Former US Senator and South Carolina Governor Ernest "Fritz" Hollings died early Saturday morning at his home in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, after being in declining health for several weeks. He was 97. In a statement, his three surviving children said, “Our father, Fritz Hollings,... Read More