In a surprising move, Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips, who is challenging President Joe Biden for the White House, has endorsed the progressive policy of “Medicare-for-All.” Phillips, a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and previously considered a centrist, announced his support for the controversial state-provided free healthcare policy. He is now signing onto the bill led by House Progressive Caucus chairwoman Pramila Jayapal.
This endorsement places Phillips in stark contrast to President Biden, who has been reluctant to embrace socializing healthcare. During the 2020 presidential election, Biden refused to endorse Medicare-for-All, and he had indicated in the past that he would veto such legislation as president due to its high cost. This shift in policy by Phillips comes amid his challenge against Biden for the Democratic nomination.
However, Phillips acknowledged having reservations about the plan, particularly its potential to prohibit almost all private health insurance. He stated that his journey towards endorsing the plan was long and cited personal experiences that influenced his perspective on healthcare. His daughter’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis almost a decade ago and the challenges of providing health insurance for part-time employees at his coffee shops played a role in shaping his views.
Despite endorsing Medicare-for-All, Phillips did not provide details on how the policy would be funded. He emphasized his desire to work with individuals on both sides of the aisle to achieve better outcomes for the country, focusing on improving care and lowering costs. Phillips described himself as having a “progressive heart, a pragmatic head,” and believes that the proposition is remarkably centrist, combining progressive and conservative principles.
President Biden’s campaign has not yet commented on Phillips’ endorsement of Medicare-for-All. The move underscores the ongoing debates within the Democratic Party regarding the future of healthcare policy and the balance between progressive and centrist approaches.