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Dem Senator Won’t State Position on Single-Payer Health Care: ‘There May Be a Bill’

• July 19, 2017 4:01 pm

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Democratic Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.) would not say whether he supports a single-payer health care program espoused by some of his Democratic colleagues during an MSNBC interview on Wednesday.

Host Katy Tur asked whether President Donald Trump was right to say that Democrats want a single-payer program, and Casey reiterated his opposition to Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. Tur pressed him to state a position on the efficacy of single-payer, but Casey avoided answering.

"So, senator, yes or no on single-payer?" Tur asked, after Casey explained that he supported consumer protections and a public option. "I was a little lost there," she added.

"Well, Katy, look, there is no bill that speaks to that," Casey said. "There may be a bill in the next couple weeks and we will debate that."

"So you're not talking taking it off of the table, as of now?" Tur asked.

"I'm sure there will be a bill on that and when that bill is introduced, we will debate it," Casey answered. "But the best thing we can do in both parties right now is to take repeal off of the table, don't decimate Medicaid, and make sure we're focused on the real problems in health care, those parts of our health care system, those parts of the exchanges in those communities where costs are too high."

Casey said that he hoped lawmakers could do this in a bipartisan fashion, but again criticized Trump.

"Apparently, President Trump now lectured the Republicans about staying in town," he said. "And the president is now back to the old Senate bill as opposed to the repeal and delay, which is really repeal and walk away."

Casey's comments come as some of his colleagues on the left have called for single-payer health care as the solution to Obamacare's problems. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) have led the charge for that overhaul of the system, and former Vice President Al Gore recently signaled his support for it as well.