Ocasio-Cortez: 'Medicare for all' proposal 'not just pie in the sky'

Ocasio-Cortez: 'Medicare for all' proposal 'not just pie in the sky'
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Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that the "Medicare for all" proposal she and other progressives have championed would ultimately save Americans money, despite studies that have shown the idea would cost up to $40 trillion.

"Medicare for all would save the American people a very large amount of money. And what we see as well is that these systems are not just pie in the sky," Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN's "State of the Union," noting that Canada, France, the United Kingdom and other democracies have a similar form of health care.

"What we need to realize is these investments are better and good for our future. These are generational investments," she added.

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Ocasio-Cortez, a self-identified democratic socialist, scored a significant upset in June when she defeated Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a primary, and is expected to win election to the House in November. She has made Medicare for all a cornerstone of her congressional campaign. 

CNN's Jake Tapper pointed out that some left-leaning studies have shown that the cost of Medicare for all would total close to $40 trillion. Ocasio-Cortez's plan to increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations to pay for the idea would only cover about $2 trillion, Tapper noted.

Ocasio-Cortez did not provide specifics for where the other $38 trillion in funding would come from, but acknowledged that "there are political realities" with which the concept has to contend.

Medicare for all has faced renewed scrutiny since a study last month estimated that legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' MORE (I-Vt.) to create a national health insurance system would lead to a $32.6 trillion increase in federal spending over a 10-year period.

Additional studies have found that establishing Medicare for all would lead to similar costs.

Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday downplayed comments from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) that her victory over Crowley was a "fluke." She said she intends to rally her supporters in November to support all Democrats, including Cuomo.