The new Medicare for All Political Action Committee has endorsed just seven Democratic House candidates—most of them running for toss-up seats in California.
Progressive Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) launched the Medicare for All Caucus in the House over the summer, and she also chairs the Medicare for All PAC. The caucus now has at least 70 members, although Democratic single-payer critics who don't want their party to shift that way point out this is far fewer than the 123 House Democrats who opted to co-sponsor the latest "Medicare for all" legislation.
On Friday, the PAC threw support behind five California Democrats in tight races that are considered key to the party flipping the House: Mike Levin, the Democrat running for the seat vacated by retiring GOP Rep. Darrel Issa; Josh Harder, who is challenging Rep. Jeff Denham; Katie Porter, who is challenging Rep. Mimi Walters; Katie Hill, who is challenging Rep. Steve Knight; and Harley Rouda, who is challenging Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
The group also endorsed Nebraska Democrat Kara Eastman, who is running against Rep. Don Bacon in another tight race, and Liz Watson, who has challenged Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.).
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has boosted the visibility of "Medicare for all," and most of the top Democrats seemingly jockeying for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, like Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have jumped on board.
But Democratic leaders and rank-and-file members are trying to keep the policy at bay and instead focus on shoring up Obamacare with new funding and pushing back against Trump administration regulations.
The policy had a poor showing in the primaries, as several new progressive House candidates who ran on the platform lost their bids to Democrats who ran on the Affordable Care Act or expanding Medicare or Medicaid to a public option.
In the end, only seven candidates out of 125 seats—that have either been vacated by a Democratic incumbent or are for GOP-held districts likely to flip—got the single-payer endorsement.
Republicans, who are feeling the heat this election cycle for their attempt last year to repeal and replace Obamacare, have tried to paint "Medicare for all" as a majority-Democrat platform, saying in ads that Democrats want to "end" Medicare by opening it up for everyone.