Sherrod Brown Tells CNN’s Dana Bash Why He Doesn’t Support Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Plan


Ohio Senator and potential Democratic presidential candidate Sherrod Brown bucked a portion of his party’s base by explaining why he doesn’t support the “Medicare for All” plan that has been introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

On Sunday morning’s edition of CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash asked Brown about the plan that has become something of a litmus test on the Democratic side.

“You just introduced a bill this past week that would allow Americans over 50 years old to buy into Medicare. But more than 20 million people are uninsured under the age of 50. So a lot of your colleagues, as you know, are supporting Medicare for all, a plan that would cover everyone. Why aren’t you?” Bash asked.

Brown began by saying “I support universal coverage,” and went on to add that “I want to help people now. I want to expand Medicare to 50. We did that 10 years ago. We fell one vote short, when Senator Lieberman changed his vote. That would have been part of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare at 55 in those days.”

Bash asked Brown “What would your plan be in the short term to cover people under 50?”

Brown replied that Congress needs to “fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act” and “stop the attacks” on Obamacare.

“I want to help people now, and helping people now is building on the Affordable Care Act, not repealing Obamacare, which is what they suggest,” Brown said. “It’s making sure we fix the consumer protections for preexisting conditions.”

“Do you not think that Medicare for all is practical?” Bash asked.

“I think Medicare for all will take a while,” Brown replied. “And it’s difficult. And it’s selling to people who now have insurance that would have to — they would have their insurance plans canceled and move into a government plan.”

Bash then referenced a controversy that popped up during Sen. Kamala Harris‘ (D-CA) CNN town hall, asking Brown “Do you believe there’s a place for private health insurance?”

“Yes,” Brown said. “I just said that. I said that in so many words, that you build on the Affordable Care Act.”

Brown did not specifically mention Sanders, but it is his plan that has come to represent the “Medicare for All” brand, which actually encompasses or is similar to a variety of approaches, some of which do not eliminate private health insurance. Following the town hall appearance at which Harris said she supported Medicare for All, her campaign clarified that she supports a variety of these approaches.

Brown did not explain how any of his plans would result in universal coverage.

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

[Image via screengrab]

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