According to Newsweek, newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently criticized the way that the American healthcare system works against working class people, remarking that her healthcare coverage when she was a waitress required her to pay twice the amount she currently pays as a United States Congress member. According to a Harris poll, her proposed solution of Medicare for All is favored by 70 percent of the population. Ocasio-Cortez is also leading a group of legislators in creating a plan to address climate change concerns, promoting a set of drastic changes to the way the country approaches the issue.

In response to her tweets calling out the disparity in healthcare coverage, Ocasio-Cortez was criticized by Jim Hanson, president of the Security Studies Group who replied to her tweet saying, “Things will be much simpler when our Democratic Socialist overlords simply tell us who will live and who will die,” before adding the hashtag #DeathPanelsrock. Oscasio-Cortez retorted “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. Maybe if the GOP stopped hiding behind this ‘socialist’ rock they love to throw, they’d actually engage on-issue for once.”

The Twitter exchange showcases the divide between the parties on healthcare, and how Republicans often twist arguments regarding Medicare for All into an argument about socialism, which betrays their ignorance and apathy towards socialism and the plight of the American people in general. As other outlets have previously reported, there is already a version of single-payer healthcare in practice in America and it is used primarily within the context of Medicare. Senior citizens have their healthcare financed by a single organization, but they are allowed freedom of choice in where they go for care. According to the Huffington Post, Taiwan already uses this program to serve their citizens.

As Jonathan Cohn writes for Huffington Post, “The question for single-payer advocates in the U.S. is how, if at all, they can overcome such obstacles. One possibility would be to roll out reductions in provider and drug and device reimbursements over a longer period of time, or introduce an optional government-run plan on the expectation that it would attract more people over time. Or they could think of single-payer less as an all-or-nothing proposition and more as a series of interlocking policies to create and then strengthen independently, as political circumstances allow.”