Todd Litton, the Democrat running to replace Ted Poe (R-TX02) is making a grave mistake. He came out stating that he does not support Medicare for All on a recent NPR interview. That statement will ensure that many marginal Progressive voters will stay home and guarantee him a loss. It is in his best interest to clean up his statement similar to Beto O'Rourke.
It is important to note that when Republicans switch their vote, it is not to vote for another Republican but for change. They do not go for the Lite incarnation of Republican, but for the real thing otherwise.
Todd Litton snubs Medicare for All
"What steps would you take if elected to the House that you believe," the moderator asked. "would strengthen the quality of healthcare without dramatically increasing costs."
"One thing I think would bring costs down, and I do hear about the cost of healthcare all across this district," Todd Litton responded.. "is the price of drugs. And I want to give the president little credit here. I mean he campaigned on allowing Medicare to be able to negotiate drug prices for Americans. I would like to see us do that. There's a bill in Congress to do that right now. I would work hard to get that passed. We pay about 60% higher drug costs here in America than the other developed countries do. Whether they're public government and what negotiates those drug prices themselves I think it's a great way to start and bring those prices down."
Why did Todd Litton feel the need to align himself with President Trump? Here is the truth about Trump and drug pricing as reported by Vox.
The truth is Trump has been pretty pharma-friendly
That’s why at the end of the day, all Trump really did was publicly shame a company into holding off another price increase for a while. It’ll probably be a bit before we see the president focus on drug prices again, at least with the same gusto he talks about the Russia investigation or illegal immigration.
Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that the Trump administration, in an initiative overseen by a former pharma executive, isn’t taking radical action to fix this problem. We haven’t even mentioned yet here how well pharma came out in the Republican tax bill or the pictures of Trump grinning as he sat at a table of drug CEOs at the White House, less than two weeks after he got into office. One high-ranking industry official told me earlier this year that there had been “an education of Mr. Trump” since he became president.
It comes through in the policy decisions of his administration. Last week, in a more or less up-and-down decision on a state proposal to toughen Medicaid negotiations with drug makers, the Trump administration declined to approve the pharma-opposed plan. Sachs contrasted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s reluctance with the agency’s eagerness to approve state proposals that would require Medicaid beneficiaries to work.
"We have an email from Bruce," the moderator said. "who says, 'I support you but I'm frustrated because I can't get an answer on your stance on universal health care.' Should the United States have Medicare for all?"
"Well I was pretty clear and The Chronicle covered this when they endorse me in the primary that I did not support Medicare for all as it's currently structured, Todd Litton replied. "I do believe health care is a right. My wife's a doctor as I mentioned earlier. She's an amazing researcher at MD Andersen but she trained at Ben Taub a long time ago. And she saw way too many people coming in who had delayed care significantly and so they came in much sicker. Their quality of life is obviously very low and then the cost of care to help them get well was much higher than it should have been."
"We need to, I believe, first and foremost shore up and expand the ACA," Todd Litton continued. "We do need to in states like Texas that have not expanded Medicaid, I'm incredibly frustrated by that, as other people are as well because here's the deal in Harris County, in particular. We are paying for that multiple times. We pay to expand access to Medicaid in other states as 36 states have done."
"At the same time when we don't expand Medicaid here locally," Todd Litton said. "People who would qualify that for that and have coverage, we're paying for that as taxpayers here locally because they're seeking care and getting the care they need through our emergency rooms. And it's uninsured care that we, the local taxpayers are paying. So to me, that doesn't make sense from common sense or a common decency standpoint. To answer the question more particularly though, I don't support Medicare for all as it currently is. I want to fix it up, for example, get drug prices lower. We've got to figure out how we shore that up before we start to expand it. I do think it makes sense to start figuring out how we could expand it to people at lower ages at various points in time. But I'm not for it is as it currently is."
Todd Litton tried to soften his snub by stating he was not for Medicare for All in its current form. But he gives no rationale. Unlike Beto O'Rourke, the Texas Congressman running against Ted Cruz for Senator who while not outright supporting Medicare for All, categorically stated he would support it if it proves to be the best choice, Litton simply said he does not support it.
I want a Democrat who will really work for the district to get elected in November. Some may balk at Democrats who call out other Democrats during the general. It is something I generally speak against. Litmus tests in my humble opinions are pointless in the general. That said, it is incumbent that we steer our candidates to the reality on the ground as opposed to the reality presented to them by the generally failed consultants. After all, we've lost the house now in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 following their bad advice. Why would we repeat the insane methods that gave us those results?
70% of Americans want Medicare for All. 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans want it. There is no reason to hedge now as it comes across as a candidate carrying the water for corporations instead of constituents.
If Todd Litton expects to win, he will need the support of voters who believe they are voting for a real change. Democrats, Progressives, Independents, and disaffected Republicans in District 2, a district that normally votes Republican, will not support a Democrat with Republican Lite proclivities. Todd Litton's current stance will lose him more votes than any marginal votes he may get with his Republican Lite stance.