Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick co-sponsors Medicare For All bill, appealing to Democratic base

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Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick has signed on as a co-sponsor on the Medicare For All bill, taking a more solid stance on the idea than she did last year on the campaign trail in Arizona’s centrist 2nd Congressional District.

Medicare For All is a progressive initiative championed by liberal-leaning Democrats and opposed by Republicans.

Kirkpatrick, a Democrat who previously represented Arizona’s moderate1st Congressional District from 2009 to 2011 and from 2013 to 2017, said during the 2018 campaign that she could not support Medicare For All because Congress had not nailed down a way to fund it.

Kirkpatrick said she opposed the idea of taxpayer funding for health care, as opposed to corporations providing options for their employees. Her 2018 congressional campaign called Medicare an earned benefit, not an entitlement. But she also opposed the GOP push for a Medicare voucher system.

Kirkpatrick won her 2018 race and now represents southern Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, which, like her previous district, is one of the more politically divided districts in the state.

Signing on to Medicare For All now is likely a move to appeal to her Democratic base, despite her history as a more moderate Democrat.

Kirkpatrick said she doesn’t think she necessarily flipped on the issue, but she acknowledged that the Medicare For All campaign took off more than she expected it to a year ago. She called the current legislation a “work in progress,” but said she had to get behind it because health care is the No. 1 issue she hears in her district.

“Talking to my constituents, they love their Medicare,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s not reinventing the wheel. It’s an existing system that works.”