Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"I don't understand why the chair of the DCCC is trying to divide Democrats by putting forward talking points from Republicans and insurance corporations," said Waleed Shahid, spokesman for the progressive advocacy group Justice Democrats. (Photo: American Federation of Teachers/Twitter)

DCCC Chair Accused of Echoing Right-Wing Talking Points After Calling Medicare for All Costs 'Scary'

"You know what's more than a little scary?" responded one progressive group: "People dying and going bankrupt because our healthcare system is broken."

Jake Johnson

A member of the House Democratic leadership was accused of echoing insurance industry talking points after she raised concerns about the price tag of Medicare for All—without mentioning the significantly higher cost of the current for-profit healthcare system.

"I don't understand why the chair of the DCCC is trying to divide Democrats by putting forward talking points from Republicans and insurance corporations."
—Waleed Shahid, Justice Democrats

"I think the $33 trillion price tag for Medicare for All is a little scary," Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said in an interview with The Hill on Tuesday.

Bustos was apparently referring to a study published last year by the Koch-funded Mercatus Center, which found that Medicare for All could cost $32.6 trillion over a ten-year period.

But the study also found that Medicare for All could save the U.S. $2 trillion compared to the status quo—while insuring every American.

In a column earlier this year, the Washington Post's Paul Waldman argued that any concerns about the potential costs of a single-payer system must be weighed against current U.S. healthcare spending, which is the highest in the industrialized world.

"You have to compare what a universal system would cost to what we're paying now," Waldman wrote.

While acknowledging that $32.6 trillion is "a lot of money," Waldman continued:

[Y]ou can't understand what it means until you realize that last year we spent about $3.5 trillion on healthcare, and under current projections, if we keep the system as it is now, we'll spend $50 trillion over the next decade.

Again, you can criticize any particular universal plan on any number of grounds. But if it costs less than $50 trillion over 10 years—which every universal plan does—you can't say it's "unaffordable" or it would "bankrupt" us, because the truth is just the opposite.

Responding to Bustos' remarks, the progressive advocacy group CREDO Mobile tweeted: "You know what's more than a little scary? 1) Tens of millions of Americans without health insurance right now. 2) People dying and going bankrupt because our healthcare system is broken. 3) Democratic officials using GOP talking points to argue against popular policy ideas."

Bustos also told The Hill that Medicare for All would be disruptive for the millions of Americans who receive insurance through their employers, a misleading line of attack that has featured prominently in the insurance industry's campaign against single-payer.

"What do we have—130 million-something Americans who get their health insurance through their work? The transition from what we have now to Medicare for All, it's just hard to conceive how that would work," Bustos said. "You have so many jobs attached to the healthcare industry."

Waleed Shahid, spokesman for the progressive advocacy group Justice Democrats, denounced Bustos' comments as divisive at a time when Medicare for All is quickly gaining support in the Democratic Party.

"As the leading Democratic presidential contenders increasingly unite around Medicare for All and the Green New Deal," Shahid said, "I don't understand why the chair of the DCCC is trying to divide Democrats by putting forward talking points from Republicans and insurance corporations."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Critics Warn Biden 'Summit for Democracy' Will Highlight Democrats' Failures at Home

"President Biden can't champion democracy across the globe without fulfilling his promise to protect our voting rights at home."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like a Teenager Promising to Clean Their Room in 30 Years': Biden Net-Zero Climate Goal for 2050 Ridiculed

"2050 is an extremely weak goal for the federal government to free itself from climate-heating pollution. It ignores existing technology and adds decades to GSA's own commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2025."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Should Cancel Student Debt or Watch $85 Billion Evaporate From US Economy: Analysis

Far-reaching cancellation enacted by Biden could add more than $173 billion to the nation's GDP in 2022 alone.

Kenny Stancil ·


Given Cover by Red-Baiting GOP, Corporate Dems Rebuked for Tanking Biden Nominee for Top Bank Regulator

"If you think that Senate Democrats rose up to [Republicans'] shameful display of modern McCarthyism by rallying around President Biden's nominee or her ideas that banking should work for the middle class, then you don't know the soul of today's Democratic Party," wrote one columnist.

Julia Conley ·


'S.O.S.!': Groups in Red States Nationwide Plead With Democrats to Pass Voting Rights Bill

"We can tell you firsthand that our Republican senators have no interest in joining this effort."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo