Presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar doesn’t want to get rid of private health care or air travel right away – but she does see the Green New Deal and “Medicare-for-all” as important discussion-starters to reach key climate and health care goals, she said Tuesday.
The Minnesota Democrat – who announced her bid Sunday morning outside as it snowed – is pushing her reputation as a common-sense Midwestern moderate and will have to reckon with the party’s progressive flank, which is focused on expanding environmental protection initiatives and replacing private insurance with a government health insurance program.
“I’m in favor of (the Green New Deal) simply because I see it as a framework to jump-start a discussion,” Klobuchar told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “Anderson Cooper 360.” She added that that was how Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts characterized his long-term plan with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York to reduce emissions and combat climate change.
“We need to put out a negotiating bid here,” Klobuchar continued. “I don’t see it as something that we can get rid of all these industries or do this in a few years – that doesn’t make sense to me – or reduce air travel. But what does make sense to me is to start doing concrete things, and put some aspirations out there on climate change.”
Klobuchar added that if elected, she would reverse several of President Donald Trump’s environmental policies by returning the United States to the Paris climate agreement and reinstituting Obama-era clean power rules and gas mileage regulations.
When Cooper asked whether she supported “Medicare-for-all,” Klobuchar replied, “I want to see universal health care, Anderson, and there are many ways to get there.”
The senator said she supports expanding Medicaid and Medicare, but she did not commit to overhauling private insurance.
“The smartest transition right now would be to do a public option, and you could do it by expanding Medicaid, you can expand Medicare,” Klobuchar added. “I’m on both bills that do that, and that’s going to get us more quickly, I believe, to where we need to go.”
When pressed on whether she supported a Medicare-for-all approach in particular, Klobuchar replied, “I’m happy to look at it as an option, but I’m not on that bill right now.”
Several Democrats have come out in varying degrees of support for Medicare-for-all, including Sen. Kamala Harris of California during last month’s CNN town hall.