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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Pleads Case for 'Medicare for All'

New York congressional hopeful Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (YouTube screen grab)

New York congressional candidate and democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended a key (and widely supported) pillar of her progressive platform—Medicare for All—on Sunday, saying such systems are “not just pie in the sky” but have been proven in other Western democracies and would be “good for our future.”

Ocasio-Cortez made the comments on CNN‘s “State of the Union” when pressed by host Jake Tapper about how she proposes to fund a platform that also includes a federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public college and trade school, and student loan debt cancellation.

She stressed that “one of the things that we need to realize” is that “Medicare for all would save the American people a very large amount of money.”

“And what we see as well is that these systems are not just pie in the sky.” She noted that “many of them are accomplished by every modern, civilized democracy in the Western world.” For example, she said, “the United Kingdom has a form of single-payer health care, Canada, France, Germany.”

“What we need to realize is that these investments are better and they are good for our future. These are generational investments… they’re not short-term Band-Aids, but they are really profound decisions about who we want to be as a nation… and how we want to act as the wealthiest nation in the history of the world.”

She went on to acknowledge the “political realities” the prove barriers to needed reforms. “They don’t always happen with just the wave of a wand. But we can work to make these things happen.”

Ocasio-Cortez addressed the same issue last month with CNN‘s Chris Cuomo. “People talk about the sticker shock of Medicare for All—they do not talk about the sticker shock of the cost of our existing system,” she said.

“We only have empty pockets when it comes to the morally right things to do,” she said at the time, “but when it comes to tax cuts for billionaires and when it comes to unlimited war, we seem to be able to invent that money very easily.”

Watch the new exchange below:

Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

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