Wisconsin Dem Senate Candidate Announces Support for Medicare for All

Dem Senate hopeful backs government health care system Biden lampooned

Thomas Nelson (D., Wis.) / YouTube
• January 28, 2021 5:40 pm


Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Thomas Nelson came out in support of Medicare for All, a single-payer health care system that would largely eliminate private insurance plans.

Nelson, a failed congressional candidate who serves as the Outagamie County executive, announced his support for the progressive policy proposal in a Thursday afternoon tweet.

"It's just wrong that over 33 million Americans lack insurance, especially during this pandemic," Nelson wrote. "That's why I support #MedicareForAll."

Nelson's support for the policy will likely boost his standing among progressives in a race that is considered vital to determining the 2022 Senate majority. But the position could also alienate moderate suburban voters, both in the Democratic primary and beyond. Multiple far-left presidential hopefuls, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), unsuccessfully centered their campaigns on Medicare for All. President Joe Biden attacked the policy throughout his primary run, arguing that Medicare for All would "cost a lot of money" and "raise people's taxes."

A version of the policy introduced by Sanders is estimated to cost as much as $40 trillion. The Vermont socialist's bill would make it illegal for private insurance companies to sell coverage that "duplicates the benefits provided" through the legislation. Some Medicare for All supporters, however, have backed away from the call to eliminate private insurance. Vice President Kamala Harris, who cosponsored Sanders's bill, endorsed the elimination of private health plans in January 2019 before backtracking six months later.

Nelson did not respond to a request for comment on whether he supports eliminating private insurance. The Wisconsin Democrat launched his campaign in October, nearly four years after he lost to Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher by 25 points in the state's Eighth Congressional District.

Walker is the only Democrat to declare his formal candidacy thus far. Reps. Ron Kind and Mark Pocan, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, and Attorney General Josh Kaul are all reportedly weighing bids. Incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has yet to announce whether he will seek reelection.