House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday a single-payer or Medicare-for-all healthcare system would have "significant administrative and other issues" and the priority of House Democratic leadership is to preserve and improve upon the Affordable Care Act.
"Our position is we are for affordable access of all Americans to affordable, quality healthcare. We've made that very clear. Medicare-for-all is one way to get there," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday morning. "It has significant administrative and other issues related to it."
"Having said that, however, the first priority that Leader Pelosi and I have is ... preserving the ACA and making it work better," Hoyer said.
Earlier Tuesday House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made similar remarks about the Democratic effort to save the ACA.
The comments come as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is on the verge of releasing his Medicare-for-all plan in the Senate that has earned support from some corners of the Democratic Party.
Sanders promoted his healthcare plan throughout his presidential campaign and it's become a talking point for Republican and conservative groups looking to drive a wedge into the Democratic Party ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
Hoyer also said he isn't concerned a Democratic push for a Medicare-for-all system could turn off centrist votes in the midterms as Democrats look to flip districts that could allow them to retake the House next November.
"I'm not [concerned]," Hoyer said. "There has always been, and there still are, people in the Democratic Party who ... would like to see a public option. We had that in our bill that passed the House that would have been available to everybody. Some people want single payer, Medicare for all. There are a lot of different discussions."
"The Democratic Party is united on the premise of ... access for all Americans to affordable, quality healthcare. Obviously, Medicare for all is one suggestion. Single payer is one suggestion," Hoyer continued.
"There are all sorts of ways to get there, and without getting into the merits of the feasibility of it, as a practical matter, what the leader and I have said is we ought not divert our attention from the immediate objective, which is making sure A) the ACA remains the law, B) that we fix it so it works for as many people as productively, efficiently and cost-effectively from their standpoint, as affordable as possible. And thirdly, we make sure the administration doesn't take action to undermine its effectiveness."
"The leader and I both believe that ought to be our focus and that's what we're going to argue for," Hoyer added.