Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a 2020 presidential candidate, was directly asked multiple times how much Medicare for all would cost during an appearance on "CBS This Morning" on Monday, and he managed to evade the question every time.
Medicare for all is potentially the top issue that Democratic presidential candidates will have to discuss between now and the primary election, but to this point candidates are shying away from the unflattering specifics of a plan they would prefer to simply present as free heath insurance for everyone.
One of the co-hosts, John Dickerson, pointed out that Medicare for all had almost no chance of getting the necessary votes in the Senate. Booker disagreed, saying that the "idea that healthcare is a right is popular on both sides of the aisle."
Even if that's the case in general terms, the actual costs of such a program are likely less popular. So co-host Norah O'Donnell cut to the chase.
O'Donnell: A chicken in every pot is popular as well. How much would Medicare for all cost?
Booker: Norah, a couple things.
O'Donnell: Just quickly, just so that people know how much it would cost.
Booker: Even the CBO says if you lower Medicare to allow 50-year-olds to get into it, you can not only save the government money, but you can lower premiums for all Americans. This is the thing. We're not talking directly to issues that can expand access to care and create affordability, and to say that it can't be done in Washington—
O'Donnell: I'm just wondering if Democrats are having an honest conversation, while they are promising what sounds good, and it should be a universal right that people have access to healthcare. But if it's $20 billion and $30 billion (Author's note: It appears she meant to say trillion) over 10 years, no one is having that discussion about how that will be paid for.
Booker then changed the subject to tout his efforts to end mass incarceration, something he said people told him couldn't be done.
Here's the video:
Booker won't say how much Medicare for all would cost youtu.be