Sen. Murphy: Dems more focused on defeating Graham-Cassidy than passing single-payer

Sen. Murphy: Dems more focused on defeating Graham-Cassidy than passing single-payer
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Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Murphy faces criticism from GOP challenger over fundraising email Democrat: Republicans who believe in more gun control afraid of being 'politically punished' MORE (D-Conn.) on Friday downplayed suggestions that the Democratic Party was pivoting to single-payer health care, arguing that the party is more focused now on defending the Affordable Care Act.

Murphy told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he expected Monday's CNN debate between Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFacebook shifts strategy under lawmaker pressure Competition law has no place raising prices some say are ‘too low’ CNN to host town hall featuring Nancy Pelosi MORE (D-Minn.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyBen Shapiro: Who died and made Jimmy Kimmel Jesus? Dems look to turn ObamaCare tables on GOP in '18 Congress misses deadline to reauthorize childrens' health care program MORE (R-La.) to be focused on ObamaCare and whether or not to repeal it.

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“I actually don’t think that Bernie Sanders is going to be talking about single-payer health care Monday night,” Murphy said Friday. “I think he’s going to be talking about why Graham-Cassidy is such an immediate threat to the country.”

The four senators will meet for a debate on CNN on Monday evening, moderated by anchor Jake Tapper and chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

"With a critical deadline looming, Graham and Cassidy, architects of the Republicans latest healthcare proposal, will debate Sanders and Klobuchar on the merits of the plan that would repeal and replace Obamacare," CNN said in its announcement.

The Graham-Cassidy bill, which could get a vote next week in the Senate, is the GOP's last-ditch attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE (R-Ky.) has already come out against the legislation, affording Republicans just one more defection against a unified Democratic minority.

Sanders, who has introduced his own single-payer "Medicare for all" health-care bill, has gained the support of more than a dozen Democratic co-sponsors, including most of the likely 2020 presidential contenders. Klobuchar, however, has not endorsed his bill, though she is a vocal critic of Graham-Cassidy.

But Murphy told MSNBC on Friday that Sanders will likely pivot to a full-throated defense of ObamaCare during the debate Monday night, which will help Democrats rally to defeat the bill later in the week.

“I think we have got to be out there as a Democratic Party continuing to explain what this bill does, and that includes Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar,” Murphy said. “I think our collective efforts, in the end, will be successful.”