Murphy Lukewarm on Single-Payer Health Care: 'It Should Not Be a Litmus Test for Democrats'

September 13, 2017

Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) said Wednesday that supporting a single-payer health care system should not be a "litmus test" for Democrats.

Murphy appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" where a panel was discussing health care, and the single-payer healthcare proposal Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) is expected to introduce on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Host Joe Scarborough said he is not convinced single-payer, and specifically Sanders' "Medicare for All" plan, is the solution. He cited the growing problems with the existing Medicare program, including the growing population over 65-years-old and the growing national dept.

"I’ll say for this "Medicare for All" plan, what I said about George Bush’s Medicare Part D plan: Unless you’re going to pay for it, don’t talk about it," Scarborough said to his panel. "We’re already facing $50 trillion of unfunded mandates over the next three, four decades."

Economic News Analyst and MSNBC contributor Steve Rattner responded to Scarborough’s concerns, saying there is hesitation in the Senate to back this proposal because there is "no obvious way of paying" for a single-payer system.

"And it’s basically setting up a kind of litmus test within the Democratic party as to whether they’re going to be fiscally responsible, as Joe was alluding to, and find ways to pay for these entitlements, or whether we Democrats are going to continue to simply layer more programs on top of more programs that aren’t paid for," Rattner said.

Murphy said in response that supporting a single-payer healthcare system and Sanders' proposal should not be a "litmus test" for the Democrats.

"Well, A: It should not be a litmus test for Democrats," Murphy said. "But, B: we have to step back and figure out how you attack a system that costs twice as much as every other country, many of which have single-payer healthcare results that are middling."

Murphy's stance comes in the wake of many prominent Democrats coming out in support of "Medicare for All," while a few have distanced themselves from the proposal, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez has also dodged questions about his support for the proposal. Those who announced their support include prospective 2020 presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D. Mass.), Cory Booker (D., N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.).