Ocasio-Cortez: 'Medicare for all' is ‘not a pipe dream’

Ocasio-Cortez: 'Medicare for all' is ‘not a pipe dream’
© Greg Nash

New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) on Wednesday said her policy proposal of "Medicare for all" is "not a pipe dream."

"I think at the end of the day, we see that this is not a pipe dream," Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time." 

"Every other developed nation in the world does this," she continued. "Why can’t America?" 

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Democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez, a rising star of the Democratic Party, often touts single-payer health care, or "Medicare for all" — a policy that has become popular among progressives.

An analysis from the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University last month sparked debate over the cost of "Medicare for all." The analysis found that legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll Gillibrand says she's worried about top options in Dem 2020 poll being white men Trump will likely win reelection in 2020 MORE (I-Vt.), another democratic socialist whose campaign Ocasio-Cortez worked on, would increase federal spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

The study also estimated national expenditures on health care would decrease by $2 trillion by 2031, meaning overall health care spending would decline but the government would foot more of the bill.  

Many have noted the center that produced the study receives funding from conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch. Charles Koch also sits on the Mercatus Center's board. 

"In a Koch brothers-funded study — if any study’s going to try and be a little slanted, it would be one funded by the Koch brothers — it shows that 'Medicare for all' is actually much cheaper than the current system that we pay right now," Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN.

Ocasio-Cortez often fields questions about how she would fund her policy proposals, which include tuition-free public colleges, a universal jobs guarantee and housing as a human right. 

"We write unlimited blank checks for war," she said on Wednesday. "We just wrote a $2 trillion check for that tax cut, the GOP tax cut, and nobody asked those folks, 'How are they gonna pay for it?' "

"So my question is, why is it our pockets are only empty when it comes to education and health care for our kids?" she continued. "Why are pockets only empty when we talk about 100 percent renewable energy that is going to save this planet and allow our children to thrive?"

"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," she said. "To me, it belies a lack of moral priorities that people have right now."