Dem Rep-Elect: Country ‘Isn’t Ready’ for Single-Payer Health Care

Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton (D., Va.) told CNN on Monday that she doesn't think the country is "ready" for single-payer health care and that she doesn't think it could be implemented without raising taxes.

"Let's talk about Medicare for all," host Poppy Harlow said Monday morning. "You have said that you're not sure the country is ready for a Medicare for all system and the question you keep asking yourself is ‘how are we going to pay for it?' Are you concerned that your fellow incoming Democrats, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or others who support it do not have a good enough answer for how you will pay for it without raising taxes?"

"Well, that's the question," Wexton responded. "It would be an expensive proposition. I don't think the country's ready for it. I don't think our system is prepared for that kind of an influx at this time."

"You don't think it can be paid for without raising taxes?" Harlow asked.

"At this time, I don't see a way to do it," the Virginia Democrat said.

Wexton defeated GOP incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock in the 2018 midterm election.

During the campaign cycle, while many Democratic candidates called for a single-player solution to health care, Wexton said, "Congress needs to stop playing politics with Americans’ health care and find a bipartisan solution to problems within our current healthcare system."

The New York Times reported in 2017 that one-third of Democratic senators supported a single-payer plan. Those supporters included potential 2020 presidential nominees Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J),  and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.).

Over the summer, the "Medicare for All" caucus was launched in the House of Representatives with 66 founding members. A 2016 study by the Urban Institute found that a Medicare for All plan, as proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), would increase the annual health care costs in the United States by over $500 billion.