Democrats, Who is who in 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates

Seventy years ago, before Medicare existed to inspire “Medicare for All,” a Democratic president wrestled with a challenge strikingly similar to what the party’s White House hopefuls face today. Harry Truman, then in his fourth year of pressing for a national health insurance system, parried criticism of his approach in terms that a single-payer health care advocate might use in 2019. The plainspoken Missourian wrote in a 1949 message to Congress that his proposal “will not require doctors to become employees of the government” and that “patients will remain free to choose their own doctors.” Truman’s pitch fell short, and Democrats vying to take on President Donald Trump next year are still debating how to give Americans better health care without shattering a system that’s both flawed and familiar. And despite voters’ keen focus on health care, it’s not clear that the Democratic primary — where presidential contenders traded rhetorical blows on the issue last week — will leave its winner with a mandate to enact his or her vision. That’s in part because, although polling shows most Democrats think the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, the party remains divided along age and ideological lines about the best approach. And even as the party’s leading White House hopefuls are bitterly at odds over solutions, congressional Democratic leaders are pursuing more consensus proposals to shore up the Affordable Care Act. Democrats’ existential battle over health care, in other words, isn’t likely toContinue reading

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