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Ocasio-Cortez on 'puzzling' question of how to fund Medicare for All: 'You just pay for it

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic candidate running for New York's 14th Congressional district, talks with a voter at the conclusion of a town hall event, September 19, 2018 in The Bronx borough of New York City. In a race she is widely expected to win, Ocasio-Cortez will face Republican nominee Anthony Pappas in the November 6 general election. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y) offered some vague answers to questions about how the country would pay for Democratic Socialist initiatives like Medicare for All, again raising questions about whether there is any substance behind the ambitious talking points.

This is important because: Candidates like Ocasio-Cortez are becoming increasingly common and popular, particularly among young voters who find their message appealing and inspiring. But, at some point, someone is going to have to realistically explain how they plan to accomplish the things they're promising to voters.

What is her stance? Ocasio-Cortez starts off with a broad appeal to a "basic level of human dignity:" "In a modern, moral and wealthy society, no person should be too poor to live. We should treat healthcare, housing, and education as rights," she said.

By saying that, she puts those who oppose her in the unfavorable position of appearing to not care whether people are too poor to live, or whether they have healthcare, housing, and access to education. That's not what her opponents think, but it's easy to spin it that way in the media. What her opponents typically say is that someone (taxpayers) is going to bear a significant burden to pay for those things.

Just pay for it? Ocasio-Cortez was asked last week whether she thought Medicare for All was too expensive. Here's what she said:

"No, people often say, like, how are you going to pay for it and I find the question so puzzling because 'How do you pay for something that's more affordable? How do you pay for cheaper rent?' You just pay for it. We're paying more now."

"Just pay for it" indeed; one conservative estimate says that Medicare for All would result in $32.6 trillion in added cost (after any savings from the program).

That means, according to the Mercatus Center and Charles Blahous, a former economic adviser to George W. Bush and a trustee for Medicare during the Obama administration, that "a doubling of all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan."

But, "we're going to need to double your taxes" is not an inspiring talking point.

(H/T Hot Air)

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