Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., on Monday would not put a price tag on a Medicare-for-all program he and other progressive Democrats are supporting.
In an interview on "CBS This Morning," hosts Norah O'Donnell, a former chief White House correspondent for CBS News, and John Dickerson, the former host for CBS News' "Face the Nation," repeatedly pressed the latest announced 2020 Democratic candidate for the White House on a dollar-and-cents figure for the single-payer plan.
The remarks start at the 2:50-minute mark.
When Dickerson mentioned it would be difficult for Democrats to pass such a proposal, even with a Senate majority, because it would likely require Republican votes to clear the filibuster threshold, Booker asserted: "This is where I disagree.”
"I've gone across this country, sat with Republican farmers, with Independents," he said. "Everybody agrees that [in] the United States of America, we should never have somebody who does not get access to care because they can't afford it. This idea that healthcare is a right is popular on both sides of the aisle."
O'Donnell asked why not strengthen Obamacare instead, Booker said there were pathways that would expand access while lowering costs.
"A chicken in every pot is popular as well. How much would 'Medicare for all' cost?" O'Donnell asked.
"Norah, a couple things," Booker said.
"Just quickly, just so that people know how much it would cost," O'Donnell pressed.
"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," Booker replied. "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 . . ."
"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," O'Donnell interjected. "But if it's $20 billion and $30 billion over 10 years, no one is having that discussion about how that will be paid for."
Booker said he was having that discussion, but went into his fight against mass incarceration — and never gave a dollar amount for the Medicare-for-all idea.
A university-based libertarian think tank, however, has projected a single payer plan to cost $32 trillion — not billions, the Washington Free Beacon noted.
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