Polls show health care is a top issue for voters in the November midterm elections.
Polls show health care is a top issue for voters in the November midterm elections.
Photo by Andy G / Flickr

Here Are the South Florida Congressional Candidates Who Support Universal Health Care

For years, Florida has had one of the highest rates of uninsured residents. So it's no surprise health care is a top issue for voters going into the November midterms. According to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than a quarter of Florida voters said health care was the most important issue they were considering this election season.

Despite voters' interest, however, not all candidates have made their positions on the topic clear. Some Democrats don't support single-payer health care, while others have been criticized for flip-flopping on the issue. To make your decision easier, here are six congressional candidates from South Florida who say they back universal health care or Medicare for all:

Mary Barzee Flores is challenging Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. She was unopposed in the primary.
Mary Barzee Flores is challenging Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. She was unopposed in the primary.
Photo by Michael Campina

1. Mary Barzee Flores, Democratic candidate for District 25. When Mary Barzee Flores was a teen, her father developed health problems and lost his job at a fish and tackle shop, which cost him his insurance, she says. The family "went from solidly middle class to poor almost overnight. He got sicker; we got poorer," she told McClatchy's D.C. bureau. Eventually, she says, her father died because he was unable to afford treatment. Barzee Flores, who faces Republican incumbent Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart in November, says she will fight for universal health care that is affordable for all families. "I believe in Medicare for all, but I think the road to get there has to be traveled in a way that insures more people along the way, not fewer," her website says.

Tim Canova stands in front of an American flag in his downtown Hollywood office.
Tim Canova stands in front of an American flag in his downtown Hollywood office.
Photo by Jerry Iannelli

2. Tim Canova, independent candidate for District 23. Tim Canova, a Bernie Sanders-style progressive who lost to Democratic incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz in 2016, left the Democratic Party to challenge Wasserman Schultz as an independent this campaign cycle. Canova has called health care "a universal human right" and supports the creation of a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health system. He is endorsed by the group Demand Universal Healthcare.

Democratic congressional candidate and former UM president Donna Shalala.EXPAND
Democratic congressional candidate and former UM president Donna Shalala.
Bluerasberry / Wikimedia Commons

3. Donna Shalala, Democratic candidate for District 27. Former Health and Human Services secretary and University of Miami president Donna Shalala says she supports Medicare for all, although some have criticized her for previous remarks on the topic. During a 2007 appearance on the Colbert Report, Shalala was asked by Stephen Colbert if she was "one of those universal health-care people," to which she responded, "No, actually, I'm not." Eleven years later, Shalala now says she supports the idea of universal health care based on Medicare, with some improvements. "Medicare has to be enhanced before we do it for all. It doesn’t have long-term care, it does not have dental benefits, and it doesn’t have eyeglass care. So I want universal health care and enhanced Medicare for all," she said at a debate earlier this year.

Congressman Ted Deutch
Congressman Ted Deutch

4. Ted Deutch, Democratic incumbent in District 22. Ted Deutch, who faces Republican challenger Nicolas Kimaz in November, was one of six Florida Democrats to support a Medicare-for-all bill from Michigan Rep. John Conyers last year. Deutch's campaign website doesn't explicitly endorse the idea of universal health care but says the congressman "believes all Americans deserve access to affordable health care."

Rep. Alcee Hastings and Rep. Frederica WilsonEXPAND
Rep. Alcee Hastings and Rep. Frederica Wilson
photos by Cliff via FlickrCC; and Wikimedia Commons

5 and 6. Alcee Hastings, Democratic incumbent in District 20; and Frederica Wilson, Democratic incumbent in District 24. Democratic incumbents Alcee Hastings and Frederica Wilson won their primary elections and have no challengers in the November general election, which is why their races haven't gotten much play since August. That said, Hastings and Wilson have made their positions clear by supporting last year's Medicare-for-all bill. Neither candidate has spoken much about health care this election cycle, but Hastings has made previous statements advocating for a single-payer health system.

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