Where 2020 Democrats stand on
Medicare-for-all

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Supports some version of it

Not all have been specific about how far they’re willing to go in support of single-payer health care.

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill, but has said he wouldn’t do away with private health insurance. He has backed proposals to lower Medicare’s eligibility age to 50 and to create a Medicaid-based public health-care option on state insurance marketplaces.

March 11: “Medicare for All is the best way to ensure that every American has access to quality, affordable health care.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Indiana

In a CNN town hall, Buttigieg said the "best way" to move toward a Medicare-for-all system is to "take some flavor of Medicare, you make it available on the exchange as a kind of public option, and you invite people to buy into it."

Feb. 15: “That's why I believe we do need to move in the direction of a Medicare-for-all system.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro has said Medicare “should be there for everybody,” but has not backed a particular bill or specific Medicare-for-all proposal.

Dec. 13: “I believe that we need Medicare-for-all.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Castro

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard co-sponsored the Medicare for All Act, a version similar to the Sanders bill introduced in the House in 2017.

Feb. 2: “We have to fight to make sure that every single American gets the quality health care that they need through Medicare-for-all.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

A co-sponsor of Sanders’s 2017 bill, Gillibrand has also backed proposals to lower Medicare’s age of eligibility to 50 and to create a Medicaid-based public health-care option on state insurance marketplaces.

Jan. 13: “Passing Medicare for All ... so families would never again have to worry about affording a trip to the doctor or the prescriptions they need.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Gillibrand

Kamala Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris sparked a debate when she said she’d be willing to end private health insurance. She co-sponsored Sanders’s bill in 2017 and has also backed proposals to lower Medicare’s age of eligibility to 50 and to create a Medicaid-based public health-care option on state insurance marketplaces.

Feb. 15: “We need Medicare-for-all to bring dignity to millions.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Harris

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Florida

“Medicare-for-all is one of the better ideas to help solve the problem,” Messam told The Post. He also said he would support the Medicare for America plan that maintains private insurance.

Candidate positions highlighted
Messam

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Thanks to his 2016 presidential run and 2017 proposal, Sanders’s Medicare-for-all has become one of the major litmus tests in the 2020 primary. He's running again, but this time many other candidates in the race support single-payer health care.

Feb. 19: “... the time is long overdue for the United States to join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right ...”

Candidate positions highlighted
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill in 2017 but has kept details broad on the campaign trail. She said there are “different ways” to get to “affordable health care for every American.” She also signed onto a bill to create a Medicaid-based public health-care option on state insurance marketplaces.

Feb. 14: “... of course we can afford to invest in making sure every American has health care.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Entrepreneur

Williamson says she will “support high-quality universal coverage for every American, including a Medicare for all model.”

Feb. 21: “We’ve been trained to expect too little, reduced to haggling for things that should be considered everyone’s right.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur

Yang said he wants to “move in the direction of a single-payer system” either through expanding Medicare to everyone or creating a new system.

Feb. 16: “We need to provide high-quality health care to all Americans and a single-payer system is the most efficient way to accomplish that. ”

Candidate positions highlighted
Yang

Prefers something else

Others have proposed different plans to reach universal coverage, such as providing a public option.

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney supports universal health care but says Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill is not the way. He has proposed his own system that leaves Medicare in place for people over 65 and creates a new public plan for people under 65.

Feb. 18: “I think we should have universal health care in this country but I don't think we should get there by making private insurance illegal.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Delaney

John Hickenlooper

Former governor, Colorado

Of Medicare-for-all, Hickenlooper said, "I reject the notion that it should become a litmus test of what it takes to be a good Democrat."

Feb. 14: “We are not going to stop until we get universal coverage.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee introduced a public option bill to offer a state-run health insurance plan.

Feb. 4: “Right now we need to embrace the things that we can have to move toward universal health coverage.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar prefers offering a Medicaid-type plan, embracing a bill to create a Medicaid-based public health-care option on state insurance marketplaces. She also signed onto a bill to lower the Medicare eligibilityage to 50.

Feb. 18: “It could be a possibility in the future. I'm just looking at something that will work now. ”

Candidate positions highlighted
Klobuchar

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke prefers something other than Medicare-for-all, he told The Post. On the trail he has backed a bill that extends Medicare without eliminating private insurance.

Candidate positions highlighted
O'Rourke

The major Democratic presidential contenders have been vocal about the need to expand health-care coverage for more Americans. But they are split on how, opening a key policy rift in the 2020 presidential campaign, particularly over the most ambitious of these plans: Medicare-for-all.

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Some Democrats have called for the United States to achieve Medicare-for-all through a single-payer system, in which all Americans would be enrolled automatically on a government plan. Other candidates have said that they believe Medicare-for-all is a good long-term goal, while stopping short of calling for a single-payer system. Others still believe in more modest measures to expand health insurance, believing Medicare-for-all could trigger a political backlash.

The debate over these plans — as well as their objective, details and impact on the health-care industry — is expected to play a major role animating the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

[The issues 2020 Democrats are running on, according to their social media]

What is Medicare-for-all?

Some versions would dramatically rethink how the nation’s insurance system works by replacing the current health insurance system with a single government-run system that provides insurance for all Americans.

Medicare-for-all would move the United States in the direction of a single-payer system, where the government steps in (rather than insurance companies) as the intermediary between patients and providers in health-care transactions.

SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Government

Patients

Providers

Pay

taxes

Pays for

treatment

SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Pay

taxes

Pays for

treatment

Patients

Government

Providers

SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Pay

taxes

Pays for

treatment

Patients

Government

Providers

SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Pay taxes

Pays for treatment

Patients

Government

Providers

SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Pay taxes

Pays for treatment

Patients

Government

Providers

For Americans who currently have private insurance through their employers, insurance companies are the intermediaries that pay providers (hospitals and doctors), and patients often cover a part of the cost with a co-pay.

HOW PRIVATE INSURANCE WORKS NOW

Insurance

companies

Patients

Providers

Pay

premiums

Pay for

treatment

Pay co-pay

HOW PRIVATE INSURANCE WORKS NOW

Pay

premiums

Pay for

treatment

Patients

Insurance

companies

Providers

Pay co-pay

HOW PRIVATE INSURANCE WORKS NOW

Pay

premiums

Pay for

treatment

Patients

Insurance

companies

Providers

Pay co-pay

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HOW PRIVATE INSURANCE WORKS NOW

Pay premiums

Pay for treatment

Insurance

companies

Patients

Providers

Pay co-pay

HOW PRIVATE INSURANCE WORKS NOW

Pay premiums

Pay for treatment

Patients

Providers

Insurance

companies

Pay co-pay

In some versions of Medicare-for-all, the government would use taxes to pay for most medical services, but would allow private insurance for elective procedures.

MODIFIED SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Pay for

elective coverage

Pay for

procedures

Supplementary or

complementary insurers

Pay

taxes

Pays for

treatment

Government

Patients

Providers

MODIFIED SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Pay for elective coverage

Pay for procedures

Supplementary or

complementary insurers

Pay

taxes

Pays for

treatment

Patients

Government

Providers

MODIFIED SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Pay for elective coverage

Pay for procedures

Supplementary or

complementary insurers

Pay taxes

Pays for treatment

Government

Patients

Providers

MODIFIED SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Pay for elective coverage

Pay for procedures

Supplementary or

complementary insurers

Pay taxes

Pays for treatment

Government

Patients

Providers

MODIFIED SINGLE-PAYER PLAN

Pay for elective coverage

Pay for procedures

Supplementary or

complementary insurers

Pays for treatment

Pay taxes

Government

Patients

Providers

Many suggestions fit somewhere between the existing health system and a nationalized health-care program. Some candidates have embraced bills that would take more incremental steps toward universal coverage, like lowering the age of eligibility for Medicare, or a Medicaid-type plan that would allow states to sell government-backed Medicaid plans on individual insurance marketplaces.

Where the candidates stand

Here’s where 2020 candidates stand on Medicare-for-all and other health-care issues, based on candidate statements, voting records and answers to a questionnaire we sent every campaign.

Question 1 of 7

What should happen to private insurance?

Essentially get rid of it

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes, we should essentially eliminate private health insurance,” Sanders told The Post. “Private insurance as it exists today is nothing more than a confusing morass designed to make people jump through hoops before they can actually get the care they need.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Sanders

It can stay, for now

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Indiana

The Buttigieg campaign told The Post private insurance can stay for now. “I don’t see why it requires that,” Buttigieg told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos when asked if Medicare-for-all means ending private insurance.

Candidate positions highlighted
Buttigieg

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Believes a Medicare-for-all system will eventually displace the private insurance industry. In a February interview on “Lovett or Leave It,” when asked if ending private insurance should be a goal for the party, Gillibrand said it “is a goal, and an urgent goal.” She said as the nation moves toward a Medicare-for-all system, “what’s going to happen is you’re going to create enormous competition and I don’t think for-profit providers are going to be able to compete … Through competition you will get to single payer.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Gillibrand

Marianne Williamson

Entrepreneur

“I’m open to the idea of supplemental insurance programs for additional health-care benefits for those who want it,” Williamson told The Post. “However, I want high-quality Medicare for All coverage for all Americans, to the point where supplemental coverage shouldn’t be a requirement.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur

“I believe that private health insurance should be allowed to continue to serve those who want to opt out of the public option,” Yang told The Post. “However, I expect the public option to be able to out-compete the private options and that most private options would disappear over time.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Yang

We don’t need to get rid of it

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

When asked by a reporter if he would get rid of private health care, Booker said: “Even countries that have vast access to publicly offered health care still have private health care, so no.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Booker

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

During a campaign event in Des Moines, Castro said he supports Medicare-for-all but wants people to have the option for supplemental private insurance, the Des Moines Register reported.

Candidate positions highlighted
Castro

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I think eliminating private insurance would ultimately be bad for patients and bad for the quality of our health-care system overall,” Delaney told The Post. “My universal health-care plan guarantees all Americans coverage, but also allows people to purchase supplemental plans.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

“Medicare-for-all would provide quality health care for every single American, at a cheaper price to every one of us,” Gabbard said in an interview on ABC’s “The View.” “If folks want to get their own private insurance at the same time, they’re free to do that.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Gabbard

John Hickenlooper

Former governor, Colorado

“I probably would oppose Medicare-for-all just because there are over 150 million people, Americans who have some form of private insurance through their business, and the vast majority of them are happy with that," Hickenlooper said on MSNBC.

Candidate positions highlighted
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

"I don't think it's necessary," Inslee told CNN when asked about eliminating private insurance.

Candidate positions highlighted
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar prefers offering a Medicaid-type plan, embracing a bill to create a Medicaid-based public health-care option on state insurance marketplaces.

Candidate positions highlighted
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Florida

Messam told The Post that he was “intrigued” by the Medicare for America bill that would allow people to maintain their private insurance if they wanted to.

Candidate positions highlighted
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

During a visit to Iowa, he said he supports the Medicare for America bill from Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). “What it does, it responds to the fact that so many Americans have said, ‘I like my employer-based insurance. I want to keep it,’” he said. “It complements what already exists with the need that we have for millions of Americans who do not have insurance and ensures that each of them can enroll in Medicare.”

Candidate positions highlighted
O'Rourke

Unclear

Kamala Harris

U.S. senator, California

Said during a CNN town hall she would support cutting private insurers – “Let’s eliminate all that, let’s move on,” she said. Her campaign advisers have also pointed out she would support more moderate plans that would let private insurers stick around.

Candidate positions highlighted
Harris

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren has mostly dodged questions about the role of private insurance in a Medicare-for-all system. When asked about private insurance, she told Bloomberg TV there are many paths to reaching “affordable health care for every American."

Candidate positions highlighted
Warren

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Background Some current Medicare-for-all proposals, including those from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) virtually eliminate private insurance by providing basic coverage for prescriptions, medical, vision, dental and mental health care. Private insurance would exist only for supplemental care outside of these basic provisions.

Question 2 of 7

Do you support creating a public option to expand health care, such as allowing people to buy into a state Medicaid program regardless of income?

Yes

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is a co-sponsor of Schatz's State Public Option Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Indiana

The Buttigieg campaign told The Post he supports creating a public option for people to buy into Medicaid regardless of income.

Candidate positions highlighted
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“A key component of my universal health-care plan is that everyone is guaranteed coverage, but that we preserve choice and competition in the system,” Delaney told The Post. “There’s certainly some overlap between my approach and various public option bills.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

"All Americans should have access to affordable healthcare through Medicare or a public option," Gabbard's campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is a co-sponsor of Schatz's State Public Option Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gillibrand

Kamala Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris is a co-sponsor of Schatz's State Public Option Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Harris

John Hickenlooper

Former governor, Colorado

"As President, [Hickenlooper] is committed to ensure universal coverage by enabling people to buy into a public option such as Medicare," his campaign told The Post. "And would enhance that option to ensure people have a 'medical home' — a place they can turn to consistently for their health needs, with an emphasis on preventive and mental health care."

Candidate positions highlighted
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee, who recently introduced a public option bill in his state, told CNN that health care should move toward universal coverage "like a public option."

Candidate positions highlighted
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of Schatz's State Public Option Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Florida

“My first choice is to have a comprehensive health care plan to provide affordable health care to most Americans,” Messam told The Post. “Anything that falls short of that goal is not the type of change big enough to solve the problem. I believe health care is a civil right and rights shouldn’t get parcelled out piecemeal.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke supports creating a public option to expand health care, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
O'Rourke

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“I think that until we manage to pass Medicare-for-all, we should be giving states the tools they need to provide affordable, comprehensive coverage to their residents,” Sanders told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is a co-sponsor of Schatz's State Public Option Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Entrepreneur

“I’m not opposed to that plan, but because Medicaid is not as comprehensive as Medicare, I’m putting my effort into Medicare-for-all,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur

“I agree with the goal of expanding health coverage provided by the government to more people,” Yang told The Post. “While I personally support the expansion of Medicare to cover all Americans, I’d be happy to work with anyone who is trying to achieve the same end goal -- getting health-care costs off of the backs of American businesses and citizens.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Yang

Unclear

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Castro

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Background As it exists now, state Medicaid programs are public health insurance programs for low-income individuals. In our questionnaire, we asked campaigns about a proposal from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) that would expand Medicaid by authorizing states to offer a buy-in option to anyone who wants the coverage, not just low-income people. Other candidates have also expressed support for creating a public option, such as a Medicare buy-in.

A January 2019 poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 75 percent of the public favors allowing people who don’t get insurance at work to buy insurance through a state Medicaid program.

Question 3 of 7

Do you believe all undocumented immigrants should be covered under a government-run health plan?

Yes

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

"We need to make our health-care system more effective by passing Medicare-for-all, and we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that creates a pathway to citizenship for those already living in the United States," Booker told the Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Booker

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand co-sponsored Sanders’ Medicare-for-all proposal, which would cover undocumented immigrants.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gillibrand

Kamala Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris co-sponsored Sanders’ Medicare-for-all proposal, which would cover undocumented immigrants.

Candidate positions highlighted
Harris

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders told The Post, "My plan would cover all U.S. residents."

Candidate positions highlighted
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren co-sponsored Sanders’ Medicare-for-all proposal, which would cover undocumented immigrants.

Candidate positions highlighted
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Entrepreneur

Williamson told The Post, "Yes" when asked.

Candidate positions highlighted
Williamson

Yes, with caveat

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Indiana

The Buttigieg campaign told The Post he supports a government-run health plan covering undocumented immigrants, with a caveat.

Candidate positions highlighted
Buttigieg

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur

"Undocumented immigrants who register for the path to citizenship would be eligible to participate in the health plan at some additional cost to them," Yang told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Yang

No

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. My universal health care plan would cover tax paying legal permanent residents,” Delaney told the Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Delaney

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Florida

“This problem needs to be addressed, but the proper place is with immigration reform, not health care reform,” Messam told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Messam

Unclear

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Castro

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gabbard

John Hickenlooper

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Klobuchar

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
O'Rourke

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Background Some single-payer health-care plans call for the federal government to fund the health insurance of the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.

Question 4 of 7

Do you support partially expanding Medicare by allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare?

Yes

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is a co-sponsor of Stabenow's Medicare at 50 Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Indiana

Buttigieg supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“My preference would be to leave Medicare alone and have people in the 50-64 range covered by my universal health-care plan,” Delaney told The Post. “Having said that, allowing people over 50 to buy into Medicare as part of improving the Affordable Care Act is a good idea.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Delaney

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is a co-sponsor of Stabenow's Medicare at 50 Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gillibrand

Kamala Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris is a co-sponsor of Stabenow's Medicare at 50 Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Harris

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of Stabenow's Medicare at 50 Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Florida

“My first choice is to have a comprehensive health care plan to provide affordable health care to most Americans,” Messam told The Post. “Anything that falls short of that goal is not the type of change big enough to solve the problem. I believe health care is a civil right and rights shouldn’t get parcelled out piecemeal.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke supports allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy into Medicare, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
O'Rourke

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“My Medicare-for-all Act has a four-year transition. Year One involves lowering the Medicare age and improving Medicare benefits, including adding coverage for dental, vision and hearing aids,” Sanders told The Post. “So while I support getting more people onto Medicare, I believe it should be a first step towards further health reform.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Sanders

Marianne Williamson

Entrepreneur

“I’m not opposed to Senator Stabenow’s approach, but I find it not to be comprehensive enough, so I’m putting my effort into more ambitious, holistic approaches,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur

“I agree with the goal of expanding Medicare to be available to cover more individuals, with the eventual goal of providing a competitive option to all Americans,” Yang told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Yang

Unclear

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Castro

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gabbard

John Hickenlooper

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Inslee

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Warren

Hover for more information

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Background Some lawmakers have proposed taking incremental steps to expanding health coverage by lowering the eligibility age and giving more people the option of buying into Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors – essentially, offering “Medicare-for-more.” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the Medicare at 50 Act in February, legislation that was co-sponsored by a number of the Democratic contenders.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll from January 2019, 77 percent of the public favors allowing people ages 50 to 64 to buy insurance through Medicare.

Question 5 of 7

Do you support giving the federal government the ability to negotiate drug prices for Medicare?

Yes

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is a Senate co-sponsor of the Affordable Medications Act. He is also a co-sponsor of Sanders’s latest Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Indiana

Buttigieg supports giving the government the ability to negotiate drug prices for Medicare, according to his campaign.

Candidate positions highlighted
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

"Yes. 100%," Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is a co-sponsor of the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is a Senate co-sponsor of the Affordable Medications Act. She is also a co-sponsor of Sanders’s latest Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gillibrand

Kamala Harris

U.S. senator, California

She has co-sponsored Sanders’s latest Medicare negotiation bill.

Candidate positions highlighted
Harris

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of the Affordable Medications Act. In January, she introduced the Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Florida

Messam supports giving the government the ability to negotiate drug prices for Medicare, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

As a Texas congressman, he co-sponsored the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
O'Rourke

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

In January, he introduced the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act. He is also a co-sponsor of the Affordable Medications Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is a co-sponsor of the Affordable Medications Act. She is also a co-sponsor of Sanders’s latest Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Entrepreneur

"Yes," Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur

“Absolutely,” Yang told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Yang

Unclear

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Castro

John Hickenlooper

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Inslee

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background By law, the federal government is not allowed to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors on Medicare, but lawmakers have pushed for legislation to give federal officials that ability, such as the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act in the House and the Affordable Medications Act in the Senate.

A February 2019 poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 86 percent of the public favors allowing the government to negotiate with drug companies to lower drug costs under Medicare.

Question 6 of 7

Do you support importing drugs from other countries?

Yes

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is a co-sponsor of Sanders’s 2019 Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Indiana

Buttigieg supports importing drugs from other countries, according to his campaign.

Candidate positions highlighted
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“We need to establish regulations to ensure safety, but I would support allowing imports from other nations like Canada, yes,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

She has co-sponsored a drug importation bill, an identical version to Sanders’s bill, introduced in the House in January.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand supports importing generic drugs. She is a co-sponsor of Sanders’s 2019 Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gillibrand

Kamala Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris is a co-sponsor of Sanders’s 2019 Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.

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Harris

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of Sanders’s 2019 Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Florida

Messam told The Post that he supports importing drugs from other countries, “as long as those countries have standards similar to our FDA, as safety is paramount.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke supports importing drugs from other countries, according to his campaign.

Candidate positions highlighted
O'Rourke

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes. My Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act with Rep. Elijah Cummings would allow Americans, wholesalers, and licensed U.S. pharmacies to import prescription drugs from Canada and other countries,” Sanders told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren told The Post she supports various drug pricing proposals, including the “importation of prescription drugs from other countries.” She is a co-sponsor of Sanders’s 2019 Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.

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Warren

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur

“I would consider doing so if American companies were not able to provide drugs at fair prices to the American people,” Yang told The Post.

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Yang

On a case-by-case basis

Marianne Williamson

Entrepreneur

“I would like American workers, and American companies to receive their fair share of health care expenditures. However, when dramatic savings can be found by exploring options from other countries, I understand the benefit of exploring those options on a case-by-case basis,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Williamson

Unclear

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro does not appear to have addressed this question.

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Castro

John Hickenlooper

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Inslee

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Background Some lawmakers have proposed allowing Americans to purchase medications from other countries as a way to lower consumer costs.

A February 2019 tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 80 percent of the public favors allowing Americans to buy imported drugs from Canada.

Question 7 of 7

Do you support having the federal government produce and sell generic drugs to lower drug prices?

Yes

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Florida

Messam told The Post that this proposal “will increase competition for drug manufacturers and lower the cost for consumers.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Messam

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes. The federal government must use every tool available to drastically lower drug prices for Americans,” Sanders told The Post.

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Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren introduced legislation that would have the government start manufacturing cheap generic drugs if prescription drug prices rise too high.

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Warren

Marianne Williamson

Entrepreneur

Williamson told The Post she supported this legislation.

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Williamson

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur

Yang told The Post he supported this legislation.

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Yang

No

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Indiana

Buttigieg doesn’t support having the government produce or sell generics, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney told The Post, “I don’t think that’s the right answer for drug prices.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Delaney

Unclear

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Booker

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Castro

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Gillibrand

Kamala Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Harris

John Hickenlooper

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington state

Inslee does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Klobuchar

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke does not appear to have addressed this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
O'Rourke

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Background Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) have introduced legislation that, if passed, would have the government manufacture cheap generic drugs if prescription drug costs rise too high.

How we compiled candidate positions

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic campaign asking whether they support various health-care policies. We organized candidates with similar stances into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town halls and other news reports. See something that we missed? Let us know.

The page will update to reflect candidates’ positions as they become more clear. We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We will also note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president or an exploratory committee by March 13. The Post will reach out to additional candidates as they enter the race and then include them here.

Recent changes on this page

April 9 Added Messam positions based on survey returned from his campaign.

April 3 Added O'Rourke positions based on survey returned from his campaign.

March 15 Added polling data from Kaiser Family Foundation.

March 14 Updated with additional information on Buttigieg positions from his campaign.

March 14 Page published.

Kevin Uhrmacher

Kevin Uhrmacher is a graphics editor for politics at The Washington Post. His work includes mapping trends in election results, analyzing data about President Trump’s political appointees and explaining the impact of congressional policies. He joined The Post in 2014 as a news designer.

Kevin Schaul

Kevin Schaul is a senior graphics editor for The Washington Post. He covers national politics and public policy using data and visuals.

Paulina Firozi

Paulina Firozi is a researcher helping to produce and write The Health 202 and The Energy 202. Before joining The Post in 2017, she was a social media curator at The Hill and previously interned for NPR Politics, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and with The Post's local desk.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is a policy reporter for The Washington Post. Before joining The Post, Stein was a congressional reporter for Vox, where he wrote primarily about the Democratic Party and the left. In 2014, he founded the local news nonprofit the Ithaca Voice in Upstate New York.

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