While appearing on CNN on Monday, Rep.-elect Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) seemed to highlight the trouble the Democratic caucus might have in finding unity with its newfound House majority.
Wexton discounted the ability to implement single-payer health care, a centralized form of health care in European countries and proposed as Medicare for All by politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
CNN host Poppy Harlow specifically asked Wexton what she thought of newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) and others’ call for a single-payer system.
“Are you concerned that your fellow incoming Democrats — like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or others who support it — do not have a good enough answer when it comes to how will you pay for it without raising taxes?” Harlow asked.
Watch the video below:
Wexton responded by calling Medicare for All an “expensive proposition” that the country wasn’t ready to implement.
“At this time, I don’t see a way to do it,” she added when Harlow asked about implementing the policy without raising taxes.
The policy proposal caught attention during the midterm election cycle when the Mercatus Center, a libertarian-leaning organization, released a study showing that it would ultimately save money but require higher taxation.
IJR previously outlined the details:
The Mercatus Center study indicates that the implementation of such a plan should be expected to increase federal spending by $32.6 trillion in its first 10 years. Funding this plan, which would increase federal health care costs by 10.7 percent of GDP, requires more than doubling all federal individual and corporate income tax receipts.
For reference, current total federal spending is $4.4 trillion per year, or 21 percent of GDP.
The study also assumes, given all factors, that providers would be required to accept Medicare reimbursement rates for all services. That rate presently affords those providers — hospitals and physicians alike — only about 60 percent of what they receive from private insurance.
The Mercatus study points out that at current reimbursement rates, 80 percent of hospitals will be losing money by 2019 paying Medicare reimbursement rates on existing patients. So, the rates would either have to increase substantially or timely access to care would be subjected to “significant disruptions,” a.k.a. much longer wait times.
Conservatives have long maintained that a single-payer system would both cost an enormous amount and likely result in rationed care.
According to Roll Call, congressional Democrats weren’t too keen on the idea, either. Most Democrats reportedly didn’t think the proposal was ready to face floor consideration and contained politically problematic provisions like the massive tax increases.