Tim Ryan: Democrats Should Sell Single-Payer Health Care as a 'Jobs Program'

June 28, 2017

Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) said Wednesday on MSNBC that Democrats should sell single-payer health care as an economic boon that would provide government jobs, reduce costs, and make Americans healthier.

Ryan said he supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) push for a single-payer system, not just as a health care system but also as a "jobs program." Ryan, a member of the House Budget Committee, told host Hallie Jackson that it would be a successful political position for Democrats to take.

"I do believe that a Medicare-for-all program is the way we should be going," he said. "I support it wholeheartedly."

He said that expanding the eligibility age for Medicare would be a "good first step."

"I think [Medicare-for-all] is the way to go, but here we are today. I think a good first step for us is to say, let's bring Medicare down to 50," Ryan said.

"If you brought Medicare down to 50 years old and you told those people they could buy in and it was means tested and they could have access to a credible program like Medicare, I think it would solve a lot of these headaches that we have right now," he added.

Jackson pointed out that other Democrats believe single-payer health care is a "tough sell," but Ryan did not back down.

"I believe that if we make the argument, it's a good jobs program if you expand health care to everybody," Ryan said. "You can't outsource an occupational therapist. You can't outsource a physical therapist. You can't outsource a nurse who does cancer screenings or does preventive work."

"Those are jobs that could be right here in the United States of America, and we'll be healthier and prevent a lot of diseases and bend the cost curve on health care," he said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) proposed a single-payer system costing $1.38 trillion during his presidential campaign, but research suggests that it would cost more than twice that much.