By Libby Watson for Splinter News
Earlier this month, Nancy Pelosi signaled her support for House Democrats holding hearings on Medicare for All in the Rules and Budget committees. But those aren’t the major committees that would consider Medicare for All. So it was significant news when the Hill reported yesterday that Rep. Anna Eshoo, chair of the much more relevant Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee, said she intended to hold hearings on Medicare for All, saying she thought “it would be interesting to have the authors of these bills come to testify and explain what their bill does and have the members ask them questions.”
But today, Politico Pulse reports that Eshoo walked those statements back last night (emphasis theirs):
ANNA ESHOO walks back vow on Medicare-for-all hearing. The Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee chair told reporters Wednesday afternoon she’d hold a hearing on Democrats’ Medicare for All proposals — a seeming break with Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) that would mark a significant victory for the party’s progressive wing.
But by Wednesday evening, the California Democrat was having second thoughts, telling POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn that her subcommittee needed to prioritize shoring up Obamacare and crafting sweeping drug price reforms.
Only after the committee gets done with those issues, Eshoo said, will she see if there’s any “spare time” to tackle Medicare for All — an outcome that she suggested was unlikely.
No spare time? In an entire two-year Congress, not even a few hours to talk about Medicare for All?
What seems a more likely explanation than “we literally do not have four hours to spare to discuss Medicare for All in the next two years” are things like “we do not want to talk about it,” “we are afraid of it” or “it would be embarrassing for the Democrats who do not support Medicare for All.” But the “sorry, Jimmy, your dad just doesn’t have time to play baseball today” excuse really doesn’t cut it. (We’ve reached out to Eshoo’s office for comment and will update this post if we hear back.)
Democratic leadership is going to have to learn pretty fast that this sort of thing won’t work anymore. A majority of Democratic candidates supported Medicare for All last election, and a majority of Americans (and even Republicans!) support the policy; it’s too late to pull this kind of bullshit now. People are going to notice.