“People talk about the sticker shock of Medicare-for-all, but not of our existing system,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “This is not a pipe dream. Every other nation does this — why can’t America?” she added. The socialist candidate argued that Americans who balk at the cost of single-payer health care need to look at the hidden costs of maintaining the current, mostly-private system.
In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Cortez said people are too heavily focused on “the sticker shock of Medicare for all but we do not talk about the sticker shock of our existing system.”
Health care for everyone in this country “is not a pipe dream. Every other developed nation does this ― why can’t America?” the 28-year-old asked.
"We only have empty pockets when it comes to the morally right things to do, but when it comes to tax cuts for billionaires and when it comes to unlimited war we seem to be able to invent that money very easily," Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says. https://t.co/cgpyxY7z1g pic.twitter.com/dgVgv8EMRb
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 9, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez went on to slam her critics in the GOP for funding President Trump’s tax cuts, and the country’s foreign wars, while neglecting healthcare and education spending.
“When it comes to tax cuts for bills and unlimited war,”she said, “we seem to invent that money very easily.”
In a separate interview, Ocasio-Cortez also leveled blame at Democrats for listening to Republican arguments about the high cost of social programs, while failing to take these Republicans to task on their own spending.
“They [Democrats] start buying into conservative talking points. They get dragged into their court all the time,” she said. “They always feel like ‘okay, the right says this thing, we have to respond to it,’ and that’s why the right is winning.”
Providing universal health care has long been a goal of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Progressive figurehead Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is perhaps the most well-known proponent of such a plan, but among some 2020 presidential hopefuls, the idea is finding traction.
Sanders’ Medicare-for-all proposal would cost an estimated $32.6 trillion for the first ten years, or ten percent of the country’s GDP, according to a recent study. According to the senator’s own figures, Medicare-for-all would cost roughly $13.8 trillion over its first decade of operation, still a roughly 30 percent increase in federal spending that would call for massive tax hikes.
Ocasio-Cortez is optimistic. Medicare-for-all is being seriously talked about by several major Democrat favorites for the 2020 election, as is government-funded college tuition, abolishing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and a $15 federal minimum wage, all positions to the left of the Democratic establishment.
“I feel really good about it,” she told Cuomo. “What we do know is that we are winning hearts, minds and an American consensus.”