Democratic front-runner Joe Biden has been taking numerous shots this week at the Medicare for All proposals favored by several Democratic candidates, accusing proponents of attempting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
On Monday, Biden told CNN that adopting Medicare for All would be like “starting over,” an argument Splinter’s Libby Watson thoroughly demolished earlier this week. Instead, Biden said he prefers adding a public option to ACA, the sweeping healthcare legislation passed when Biden was vice president in the Obama administration.
At campaign stops in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday, Biden reiterated that point, saying, “I think that we should not be scrapping Obamacare; we should be building on it,” The Washington Post reported. “The present Medicare system goes away. It’s a brand new Medicare system,” he added.
He also said this, according to The Hill: “I don’t want to start over. How many of you out there have had someone you’ve lost to cancer? Or cancer yourself? No time, man. We cannot have a hiatus of six months, a year, two, three, to get something done.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a key backer of Medicare for All, had heard enough. In an emailed statement to supporters, the Sanders campaign blasted “fellow Democrats” for spreading “misinformation,” a clear swipe at Biden.
“At a time when Donald Trump and the health insurance industry are lying every day about Medicare for All, I would hope that my fellow Democrats would not resort to misinformation about my legislation,” the statement said.
Sanders called Biden’s allegation that cancer patients wouldn’t be able to access healthcare during the expansion of Medicare for All “preposterous.”
“In fact, under Medicare For All, the good news is that we will end the horror of millions of people going into bankruptcy and financial distress simply because they need hospital care for serious conditions,” Sanders wrote.
He noted that under his proposal, the U.S. would transition over a four-year period into a Medicare for All program that would “cover every man, woman, and child in the country.”
Biden said Saturday that his proposal for a public option would cost about $750 billion over 10 years, according to CNN. He is the only Democratic front-runner that opposes a single-payer health plan enrolling all Americans in a Medicare-like program.