Sen. Chris Murphy Says Bernie Sanders Won't Bring up Single-Payer in Health Care Town Hall
Late Thursday afternoon, CNN announced that it would host a town hall on health care this coming Monday with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Last Wednesday, Sanders released a proposal for single-payer health care, just as Republicans have banded together on a bill to repeal parts of Obamacare. On Friday, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct.) suggested that Sanders would not bring up his new proposal, and only attack Republicans instead.
"I actually don't think that Bernie Sanders is going to be talking about single-payer health care on Monday night," Murphy said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Perplexed, co-host Mika Brzezinski asked, "You don't?"
"No. I think he's going to be talking about why Graham-Cassidy is such an immediate threat to the country," Murphy said, referring to the legislation sponsored by Sen.s Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
The idea that Sanders would not address his own signature legislation at the health care town hall is laughable, so much so that the MSNBC hosts did not believe what they were hearing.
Joe Scarborough pressed Murphy on his statement. "Has Bernie told you that, Chris?"
"Well, no," Murphy admitted. "I've actually heard that from Bernie's folks. That their focus is going to be on Graham-Cassidy. I think he understands that what we need to do next week is make the American public understand the humanitarian disaster that comes with 32 million people losing insurance, with rates going up by 20 percent."
As anyone who has struggled under Obamacare for the last few years knows, this is a wild mischaracterization of the current situation. Many of those "32 million people" who would "lose insurance" actually would prefer not to buy insurance, but would be penalized under Obamacare for refusing to buy insurance. As for the rate increase, Obamacare was called the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," but premiums have skyrocketed since its implementation.
"I know that Republicans want to make the announcement of Bernie's single-payer idea the excuse for why they're moving this bill forward," Murphy added. "But that's not true." The Connecticut senator is correct in saying that Sanders' bill is not the reason Republicans want to strike down key facets of Obamacare — Republicans want to strike down Obamacare because it's a bad law that has hurt millions of people.
Many Americans have feared that Obamacare was actually designed to fail, so that Democrats could push single-payer as the solution to its problems. The problem? Obamacare is falling apart too quickly, so Republicans have a shot to repeal it. (Or perhaps they did, before Sen. John McCain just announced his opposition to Graham-Cassidy.)
This situation has deeply divided the Democratic Party. Many Democrats insist that the party should be dedicated to saving Obamacare from Republican attacks, but others insist on joining Sanders in advocating for single-payer now.