Khanna says he’ll vote against Democratic Party platform

Rep. Ro Khanna (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 Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (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 Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential bid, and other progressives had advocated for a plan that would implement universal coverage and scrap private insurance.

Tags 2020 Democratic convention Bernie Sanders Democratic platform Health care reform Joe Biden Medicare for all Ro Khanna Universal health care
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