Khanna says he'll vote against Democratic Party platform

Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election MORE (D-Calif.) has announced that he will vote against the Democratic Party’s platform during its convention next week, citing the absence of “Medicare for All” in the document.

Khanna, a vocal progressive, wrote in a piece published Thursday in Common Dreams that universal health coverage is a defining issue of the time, comparing it to supporting civil rights in the 1940s and opposing the Vietnam War in the 1960s, and that it “should be the yardstick for measuring the wisdom of voting for or against the platform.” 

“I believe that moving away from a profit-based healthcare system is the moral issue of our time. And in the final analysis, because of that belief, I could not vote for a platform that lacks a clear statement supporting Medicare for All,” he wrote. 


Khanna said Democrats’ discussion about making health care “affordable” was narrowing the debate over coverage and noted that universal health care has appeared in past party platforms.

“Harry Truman ran and won on universal healthcare in 1948, and it was part of Democratic Party platforms until 1980. Thirty-six years later, the 2016 platform merely called for lowering the eligibility age for Medicare to 55. The 2020 platform proposes raising the goal to 60. That is not incrementalism; that is moving backwards,” he wrote. “I will be voting ‘No’ on the platform because when we say that healthcare is a human right, we must truly mean it—and fight for it.”

The California lawmaker maintained he will “do everything possible” to help elect former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration Trump campaign appeals dismissal of Pennsylvania election challenge Pressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win MORE (D-Calif.) to the White House and said he respects the people who crafted the platform, noting it contains “positive planks” like a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.

Biden and Harris have campaigned on expanding health coverage by strengthening the Affordable Care Act, the signature Obama-era health care law commonly known as ObamaCare, and adding a public option while keeping private plans intact. 

The party’s platform includes similar language, discussing “Securing Universal Health Care Through a Public Option.” 

Khanna, who co-chaired Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Young voters set turnout record, aiding Biden win MORE’s (I-Vt.) presidential bid, and other progressives had advocated for a plan that would implement universal coverage and scrap private insurance.