Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), now a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said in a recent CNN interview that he doesn’t support the elimination of private health insurance.
Ryan, however, is cosponsoring a bill that would eliminate most private insurance, which is one of the explicit goals of the bill’s lead sponsor.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07) introduced her “Medicare for All” bill in late February, and explicitly states in the bill that starting on “the effective date described in section 106(a), it shall be unlawful for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act.”
While speaking with reporters, Jayapal said that her bill “really makes it clear what we mean by ‘Medicare for All.’”
“We mean a complete transformation of our health care system, we mean a system where there are no private insurance companies that provide these core comprehensive benefits that will be covered through the government,” she said, according to NBC News.
Ryan joined the bill as a cosponsor on February 27 along with 107 of his Democratic colleagues in the House. But when asked by CNN this week if he thinks it’s a “bad idea to wipe out private insurance,” Ryan responded affirmatively.
“I’ve been on the Medicare for All bill since 2007, but like anything I think we need to take steps in that direction. I personally don’t believe we need to take people off of their private health insurance if they enjoy it, and we need to make sure there are protections there for them around pre-existing conditions and all of that,” he said earlier in the interview.
Ryan’s comments sparked some criticism from the Ohio GOP, which said Ryan is trying to “have it both ways.”
“So which is it? Though Tim Ryan may be trying to have it both ways while walking a political tightrope between his radical base and Ohioans, the facts tell the real story,” said Mandi Merritt, Ohio spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. “Ryan is just another out-of-touch Democrat pushing government-run health care at the expense of everyday families.”
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