Ocasio-Cortez Likens Private Health Insurance To ‘Death Panels’


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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared the private health insurance market to “death panels” during a back-and-forth exchange on Twitter Sunday.

“Actually, we have for-profit ‘death panels’ now: they are companies + boards saying you’re on your own bc they won’t cover a critical procedure or medicine,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted to the president of a conservative think-tank. “Maybe if the GOP stopped hiding behind this ‘socialist’ rock they love to throw, they’d actually engage on-issue for once.”

The tweet was in response to Jim Hanson, president of the Security Studies Group. The two had been exchanging barbs over government involvement in the U.S. health care system.

The phrase “death panels” was coined by former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in 2009 to describe the rationing of government-run health care. The term was used to characterize former President Barack Obama’s health insurance reform plan.

Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, repeated her calls Sunday for a “Medicare for all” program, which would include a single-payer health care system.

This wasn’t the first eyebrow-raising comparison Ocasio-Cortez has made in recent time.

The democratic socialist — who won her New York congressional bid in an upset election over a powerful Democrat — on Friday compared her victory to the civil rights movement and the U.S. moon landing. Earlier in November, Ocasio-Cortez compared the caravan of Central American migrants attempting to enter the country illegally to Jews who fled the Holocaust. (RELATED: Every Time Ocasio-Cortez Got It Wrong)

“Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime,” she wrote on Nov. 25. “It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America.”

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