Former Congressman John Delaney (D-Maryland) may have just talked himself out of contention in his long-shot presidential campaign.
While addressing the 2019 California Democratic Convention, Delaney — who initially announced his quixotic 2020 campaign in July of 2017 — attempted to set himself apart from the crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates by coming out strong against Medicare for All. After criticizing the policy that’s consistently polled well with a majority of Americans (including both Democrats and Republicans) in numerous polls, Delaney was booed for roughly a full minute by the audience.
“Medicare for All may sound good, but it’s actually not good policy nor is it good politics,” said Delaney, whose net worth exceeds $232 million according to OpenSecrets’ analysis of Congressional net worths. “We should have universal healthcare, but it shouldn’t be the kind of healthcare that kicks 150 million Americans off of their healthcare.”
“That’s not smart policy,” Delaney said, as the crowd continued to loudly boo him.
Presidential candidate John Delaney booed at CA Dem convention for saying: "Medicare for all may sound good but it's actually not good policy nor is it good politics." pic.twitter.com/aWwdeHM8nH
— The Hill (@thehill) June 2, 2019
Delaney’s remark about Medicare for All kicking 150 million Americans off of their healthcare was likely a dig at the plan proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), which would replace the current for-profit private health insurance model of healthcare with a lone single-payer system (roughly 158 million Americans currently get healthcare through their employer). However, Delaney’s assessment that the policy would be bad politics is unproven, and likely off the mark. In April, Grit Post reported on University of Pennsylvania statistics finding that, on average, employer-sponsored healthcare premiums eat up roughly a third of family household income.
Support for Medicare for All stands out as perhaps the most strict litmus test for Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination when courting working-class Democrats. Last month, a viral Twitter thread by a pro-Medicare for All account asking followers what “radicalized” them to start supporting Medicare for All attracted hundreds of horror stories.
In one of many responses to the thread, a parent wrote about how they were told by their employer that he had to return to work or else his employer-sponsored health insurance would lapse — while that parent was sitting next to their four-year-old child in a medically induced coma in a pediatric intensive care unit. Another response came from writer and actress Erin Dewey Lennox, whose father committed suicide so his family wouldn’t be burdened with costs from treatment for his Parkinson’s Disease.
“We did a Go Fund Me for his medical care and ended up using it for his funeral,” she wrote.
When my employer told me I needed to come back to work or else my families health insurance would lapse.
I took that phone call while sitting in a PICU room next to my 4 year old who was in a medically induced coma
— Janissary Jones (@JanissaryJones) May 3, 2019
My father killed himself so he wouldn’t bankrupt the family trying to treat his Parkinson’s. He was my best friend. We did a Go Fund Me for his medical care and ended up using it for his funeral
— Erin Dewey Lennox (@ErinDeweyLennox) May 3, 2019
While working-class Americans struggle to afford healthcare, compensation packages for CEOs of large healthcare companies continue to skyrocket. As Grit Post previously reported, the top executives of 177 large healthcare companies made more than $2.6 billion in 2018 alone. To put that figure in perspective, that’s roughly $800 million more than the National Institutes of Health spent researching Alzheimer’s Disease.
Prior to getting elected to Congress in 2012, John Delaney co-founded Health Care Financial Partners in 1993, which went public in 1996, and started trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1998. During his three terms in Congress (Delaney declined to run for re-election in 2018), Delaney took in $232,520 in campaign contributions from donors in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.