McConnell: No Medicare for All 'As Long As I'm Majority Leader'

By Susan Jones | April 11, 2019 | 6:43am EDT
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Screen capture)

( - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is dismissing Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" plan, announced on Wednesday, as "Medicare for none."

He said it won't happen -- "Not as long as I'm Majority Leader."

McConnell told Fox News on Wednesday that under Sanders' plan, "180 million Americans would lose the private health insurance that many of them negotiated for at work. Medicare itself that current recipients have been paying into all these years would be completely drained by adding all these additional people.

"If you want to turn American into a socialist country this is the first step, that coupled of course with the Green New Deal, which would eliminate a whole lot of jobs," McConnell said.

"I think what we're seeing here is full socialism on display in the democratic primaries for president, and even those who are skeptical about it like Senator Klobuchar, are saying a public option. Well that's not much different because if you have a public option, I guarantee you the public option will also drive all the private insurance companies out of business. So look, this is a prescription for turning America into a western European country."

Fox News's Bret Baier asked McConnell about the Republican plan for health care:

McConnell said Americans should know that Republicans are "all in favor of covering pre-existing conditions."

And while not a single Republican voted for Obamacare, McConnell is now in favor of making "modest fixes that I think the American people need and deserve."

"I'm all in favor of working on what should be called niche fixes to try to improve the current system. Obviously, Obamacare has entirely too high copayments and deductibles. We ought to be working on something like that.

"There is a bipartisan effort underway in the Senate to try to get down the cost of prescription drugs. Those are the kinds of things that could actually pass, but I guarantee you, next year what will be on display across the country is a debate about whether we want to turn America into a socialist country. I never thought, by the way, that we would debate the virtues of capitalism in America in my lifetime."

McConnell said there's no point in bringing a Republican health care plan to a vote right now, with Democrats in control of the House. "We're not going to spend time in the Senate on things that have literally no chance of becoming law."

McConnell said he has convinced President Trump to come up with a health care plan, run on it in 2020, and then -- if Republicans retake the House and hold the Senate -- "that would be the time for us to be voting on it."

Last year, McConnell convinced President Trump to wait until after the midterm election for border wall funding, and that has not turned out well.

"We are still in favor of the wall," McConnell said in September 2018. "We still want to get funding for the wall, but we think the best time to have that discussion is after the election."

Democrats retook the House, and the battle over border wall funding rages on, with Trump and border security advocates on the losing end.

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