Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for his Democrat colleagues to take a “bold” approach on the economy. He added that a national, single-payer health care system is “on the table.” He examined his party’s economic agenda with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” which he said on Sunday that Democrats will unleash this week. As to why his party faltered in 2016, Schumer admitted, “We were too cautious, we were too namby-pamby, this is sharp, bold and will appeal to both the old Obama coalition ... and the Democratic voters who deserted us for Trump.”
When Stephanopoulos asked whether the Democrats’ plan will include a single-payer health care system, in which the government, instead of private insurance companies, would pay for care, Schumer said, “We’re going to look at broader things [for health care].” He said, “Single-payer is one of them.. Many things are on the table. Medicare for people above 55 is on the table. A buy-in to Medicare is on the table. Buy-in to Medicaid is on the table. On the broader issues, we will start examining them once we stabilize the [health care] system.”
Progressive Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and socialist-leaning Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), have pushed Democrats in the direction of a single-payer system. Al Gore has also pushed for it. The former president said last week, “The private sector has not shown any ability to provide good, affordable health care for all.” Gore said, “I believe we ought to have single-payer health care.”
Schumer’s remarks on Sunday signaled a departure from what his stance has been heretofore. Saying that Republicans’ health care bill is “very unlikely to pass, because it’s rotten to the core,” Schumer appeared optimistic that the GOP will fold in the face of the Democrats. “Democrats and Republicans, who will have different ideas, should sit down and talk about how we can improve the system,” he said.