health care

Do you support Medicare-for-all?

Supports some version of it

Supports some version of it

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
Cory Booker
Booker

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
Julian Castro
Castro

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard co-sponsed the Medicare for All Act.

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.”

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Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

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
Bernie Sanders
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
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

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
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech 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. ”

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Andrew Yang
Yang

Bill de Blasio (Dropped out)

Mayor, New York City

de Blasio is no longer running for president. “Yes, I support moving America's health care system to a Medicare-for-all system,” de Blasio told The Post. “I believe healthcare is a human right and we must adopt a Medicare-for-all system to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality health services no matter their means.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. 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
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, California

Harris is no longer running for president. Harris released a new health-care plan — her own version of Medicare-for-all that aims to move all Americans into a Medicare program after 10 years but would allow private, and more tightly regulated, plans to continue offering insurance — days before the second Democratic debate. She sparked a debate in January when she said she’d be willing to end private health insurance at a CNN town hall. 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
Kamala Harris
Harris

Tim Ryan (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan is no longer running for president. “We need to think big when it comes to making healthcare more accessible and affordable, which is why I am a long time supporter of Medicare for All,” Ryan told The Post. “But as we move towards that ultimate goal, we need to be realistic on how we get there. That is why I also support making modifications to the Affordable Care Act and adding public option that would allow Americans to buy into Medicare without eliminating private health insurance options until we as a country can implement Medicare for All in a way that will move our country forward." Ryan co-sponsored the Medicare for All Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Prefers a public option

Prefers a public option

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

"When you tell people the first thing about Medicare for All — either that it takes insurance away from 180 million Americans that have it through their employer or the taxes we would have to pay to afford that $30 trillion program — that 70 percent support falls to the mid-30s,” Bennet told CNN. “I think we need to level with the American people.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“I understand the appeal of Medicare-for-all, but folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare, and I’m not for that,” Biden said in a video. His health plan backs “giving Americans a new choice, a public health insurance option like Medicare.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

In a March 2019 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." At the time of initial publication, his campaign said that Buttigieg's stance was a version of Medicare-for-all, though in December 2019 a spokesperson said that Buttigieg prefers a public option, rather than a version of Medicare-for-all.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

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
John Delaney
Delaney

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
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick doesn't support Medicare-for-all "in the terms we've been talking about," he said in a Nov. 2019 CBS interview. He said he supports a public option. His campaign website called for “a health care system that provides access to high-quality, low-cost health services everywhere and for every single individual, bar none.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“I support opening Medicare to all who want it,” Steyer told The Post. His campaign website said, “the American people deserve a health care system where everyone has access to quality, affordable, and secure health care. Tom supports a universal health care system, including a strong public option that aggressively competes with the private insurance marketplace, drives down costs, and expands coverage.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Steve Bullock (Dropped out)

Governor, Montana

Bullock is no longer running for president. Bullock told The Post that he prefers something other than Medicare-for-all.

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. 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
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. 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
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton prefers updating Medicare through a public option and competition with private insurers, he said in a Facebook post.

April 22: “... as a recipient of single-payer healthcare through the VA, which has a history of problems, I don’t believe we should force everyone to accept a one-size-fits-all government plan.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke is no longer running for president. O'Rourke supports Medicare for America, a campaign spokesman told The Post, adding that “it is the surest way to get to guaranteed, universal coverage while dramatically decreasing out-of-pocket-costs. Under his plan, everyone without care would be enrolled in Medicare and those with insufficient care could choose Medicare. Those with employer-sponsored insurance can opt for Medicare. He believes that people who have insurance that works for them should be able to keep it.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “I support coverage for all, i.e., Medicare for all who want it,” Swalwell told The Post. “This would serve as a public option for any American, operating alongside and competing with private insurance plans, in order to drive prices down for everyone. If you’re sick you should be seen, and if you’re seen you shouldn’t go broke.”

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Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg “believes every American should have access to affordable medical care, and expanding Obamacare and Medicare is the best way to achieve universal coverage,” his campaign website said. In January 2019, Bloomberg said Medicare-for-all "would bankrupt us for a very long time." His campaign did not clarify his position on a public option by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Mike Bloomberg
Bloomberg

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Background 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.

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. Candidates 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. Responses from candidates who have dropped out will remain on the page behind the “Show former candidates” button unless the question or categories change in such a way that makes it unclear where they would fall.

At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president or an exploratory committee by March 13. Wayne Messam, mayor of Miramar, Fla., reported $0 in spending during the 3rd quarter of 2019. As a result, he is no longer considered a "major candidate" in the Post's 2020 coverage and has been removed from this project.