Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) said Tuesday a potential Democratic nominee in 2020 who supported eliminating private health insurance would lose 48 states to President Donald Trump.
Following the first of two nights of Democratic debates in Detroit on CNN, Ryan fretted about support by top Democrats for a single-payer health care system that would take away private health insurance plans from more than 150 million Americans.
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"It makes it very hard," Ryan said in the spin room. "I think if our nominee is talking about taking private health care away, I think we'll lose 48 states. And I'm having a rough time figuring out the two we're going to win."
MSNBC reporter Garrett Haake pointed out the top two candidates on the stage, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) backed that very thing, but Ryan said three-quarters of the Democratic primary electorate wasn't necessarily on board.
"This is a very, very dangerous proposition," Ryan said.
Tuesday's debate was marked by battles between Warren and Sanders and more moderate Democrats like Ryan, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D.), and former Rep. John Delaney (D., Md.). Warren accused opponents of using "Republican talking points" to suggest she was for eliminating insurance, saying it was Republicans, not Democrats, who wanted to take away health care.
Ryan said during the debate that the Democrats were proposing policies that were political losers.
"In this discussion already tonight, we've talked about taking private health insurance away from union members in the industrial Midwest," he said. "We've talked about decriminalizing the border, and we've talked about giving free health care to undocumented workers when so many Americans are struggling to pay for their health care. I, quite frankly, do not think that is an agenda that we can move forward on and win.