DNC CEO: ‘I Don't Know’ How to Pay for Single-Payer Health Care

November 15, 2018

Democratic National Committee CEO Seema Nanda responded "I don't know" to a question on Tuesday about how Democrats would pay for a single-payer health care system.

Nanda attended Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit: America’s Financial Future event in Washington, D.C., where she was asked by Rick Newman, the moderator and a senior columnist, about concerns regarding the cost of a single-payer system.

"It would be very expensive, so, if this is going to be a winning issue for Democrats in 2020, how do you answer the question of how are you going to pay for this?" Newman asked. "Because there have been studies, credible studies that say it would cost $3 trillion a year. You would have to double everybody’s taxes or maybe triple everybody’s taxes. How do you answer the cost question?"

"I don’t think we’re there yet," Nanda acknowledged. She then pivoted to castigate the "irresponsible" Republican tax cuts and said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) would target Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid next.

"So, you know, your answer is I don’t know how we’re going to get there, but these are all big conversations that we need to be engaged in," Nanda added.

She was then asked whether there was room for socialists in the Democratic Party, prompting her to say there was room for "all sorts of Democrats in the Democratic Party."

Nanda is not the first Democrat to have difficulty explaining how they would pay for the single-payer system. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who caucuses with Senate Democrats, had difficulty explaining where the money would come from to pay for his proposed plan. Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) was also pressed back in September about the cost, and she was unable to explain solutions to afford the plan.

The libertarian Mercatus Center released a report in July saying Sanders' proposed system would cost the U.S. government more than $32 trillion over 10 years.