Top Democrats are tamping down momentum for "Medicare for All" out of fear that Republicans will paint the 2020 candidates as socialist and that the plan could bring huge losses up and down the ballot next November, according to news reports Tuesday.
"When you say Medicare for all, it's a risk," Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, told The New York Times. "It makes people feel afraid."
Raimondo, as chair of the Democratic Governors Association, led a successful campaign to win governorships in Kentucky and Louisiana earlier this month.
"We won in Kentucky and Louisiana, barely, in part, because we won on healthcare," she said. "I don't think we can afford to lose on healthcare."
"Medicare for All" is being pushed by two liberal 2020 Democratic candidates — Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — while moderates like former Vice President Joe Biden are encouraging adjustments to the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.
Even former President Barack Obama, reflecting on the problems in passing his signature domestic legislation in 2010, warned against pushing a sweeping healthcare overhaul that threatens private insurance plans to donors earlier this month, the Times reports.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also told Bloomberg News this month: "I'm not a big fan of Medicare for all."
Tyler Jones, a South Carolina Democratic strategist who advised former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke's campaign, told the Times: "If we have a nominee that supports Medicare for all at the top of the ticket, our majority in the House is in serious jeopardy, not to mention a potential majority in the Senate.
"That is not a smart strategy."
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