Even the Washington Post’s fact checker couldn’t deny Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez badly mangled the rollout of her “plan” to pay for Medicare-for-All.
The incoming congresswoman suggested Pentagon accounting errors could pay for two-thirds of the proposed entitlement.
$21 TRILLION of Pentagon financial transactions “could not be traced, documented, or explained.”
$21T in Pentagon accounting errors. Medicare for All costs ~$32T.
That means 66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon.
And that’s before our premiums. https://t.co/soT6GSmDSG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 2, 2018
The Washington Post’s Salvador Rizzo clapped back with the cold, hard truth:
Enter Ocasio-Cortez. She supports expanding Medicare to people under 65, what’s known as single-payer or Medicare-for-all. But the big question is how to pay for all that health care. According to an estimate from the Urban Institute, the price tag on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all proposal would be $32 trillion over 10 years.
Ocasio-Cortez claimed on Twitter that $21 trillion in “Pentagon accounting errors” could have paid for 66 percent of the Medicare-for-all proposal. Her tweet references an article in the Nation, a left-leaning magazine. The specific line about the missing $21 trillion comes from research by Mark Skidmore, an economics professor at Michigan State University.
Regardless, in the situation Skidmore is describing, the $21 trillion is not one big pot of dormant money collecting dust somewhere. It’s the sum of all transactions — both inflows and outflows — for which the Defense Department did not have adequate documentation. “The same dollar could be accounted for many times,” as Philip Klein wrote in the Washington Examiner.
That’s not the argument coming through in her original tweet, which has been retweeted by nearly 25,000 users. Most people reading the tweet are likely to take its flawed comparison at face value.
After the Washington Post published its article, Pentagon spokesperson Christopher Sherwood weighed in, saying “DoD hasn’t received $21 trillion in (nominal) appropriated funding across the entirety of American history.”
Given Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet is still up, the Post gave her statement a damning Four out of Four Pinocchios.