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Congressman: Single-Payer Healthcare 'Clearly Resonating' with Trump Voters

WASHINGTON – Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said voters who supported Donald Trump for president really favor a single-payer healthcare system and conservatives in Congress should get behind a “Medicare for all” plan to help small businesses.

Given the GOP majority in Congress, Raskin was asked how he would pitch “Medicare for all” to his Republican colleagues.

“Number one, I would say we need to liberate small business across America from the burden of having to figure out health insurance for their employees. The vast majority of small businesses are not in the healthcare business and that’s not what they bargained for, and so it dramatically increases their costs. If we did what Canada does, if we did what most industrialized countries do, the small businesses simply don’t have to worry about it,” Raskin told PJM during a conference call today organized by Public Citizen.

“It’s just a matter of historical accidents that we think of health insurance as connected to the workplace. It was because of wage and price controls that were imposed during World War II that employers started offering health insurance to employees as a way to get them to come work there, and that was kind of how the whole thing got started because they couldn’t increase people’s salaries,” he added. “And now it’s created huge problems for small business.”

Raskin also said that Trump might have been “intuitively” referring to a single-payer healthcare plan in America when he expressed support for a healthcare system that covered everyone during the 2016 campaign.

“Politically, Donald Trump, when he was campaigning, really campaigned to the left on healthcare in addition to a whole bunch of other issues including trade policy and the Iraq War and so on. But Donald Trump repeatedly said he was for a system that was going to be much cheaper, that covered everybody, and there are lots of quotes from him in the campaign of saying he wanted a system where everybody was going to be part of it,” the congressman said.

“I think he was at least intuitively talking about a universal single-payer plan, a Medicare-for-all plan. So, the politics of it are clearly resonating among the people who voted for Trump and for the small businesses that all of us are committed to – I think it’s a necessity now,” he added.

In January, Trump mentioned providing coverage for everybody in the context of replacing Obamacare.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

Senate Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plan on introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2017 on Wednesday. Some Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have said a single-payer healthcare system would turn into a two-tier system in America.