Beto O’Rourke and Bill de Blasio Argue Over Healthcare Plans

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I’ll bet Beto O’Rourke’s new campaign staff members are wondering what they’ve gotten themselves into.


NBC News reporter Ben Pu shared a video of O’Rourke and his staff on Saturday holding an impromptu pushup competition at an airport gate in Sioux City, Iowa, as O’Rourke and his team waited for a delayed flight.

Very healthy. But also very sweaty and smelly.

What’s not healthy for O’Rourke’s still fledgling campaign is being criticized by another Democratic candidate whose 2020 campaign is struggling even more, over O’Rourke’s opposition to Medicare for All.

On Saturday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who polled at zero percent in Iowa last month, accused O’Rourke, who polled at 2 percent, of “lazy fear mongering tactics” in the healthcare debate.

De Blasio and O’Rourke went after each other over the issue on Twitter.

“If someone proposed a ‘radical’ idea called public education today, Beto would try to warn us that 180 million Americans would be kicked out of their schools,” de Blasio tweeted.


That was a response to O’Rourke outlining his thoughts on healthcare policy, which included the argument that Medicare for All “would force 180 million Americans off their insurance.”

As Politico notes, O’Rourke’s plan would maintain employment-based insurance while giving people the option to switch to a new Medicare-based program.


“So, we get to universal guaranteed care while still preserving choice, and we avoid the false choice between the status quo, what we have today, the Affordable Care Act, and something that would force tens of millions of Americans off of private insurance and towards Medicare,” O’Rourke said of his plan.


This is an interesting stance, given that just two years ago, O’Rourke wrote that, “We need a single-payer healthcare system for all Americans.”

O’Rourke responded to de Blasio’s tweet with another tweet, saying, “Just like every parent can send their kid to a public school, under our plan, every American who wants to enroll in Medicare can do so. It’s the best way to guarantee high-quality health care for every single American.”


De Blasio countered that “the best way to guarantee high-quality care is to make sure wealthy and poor people, healthy and sick people all get the same care. To allow corporate interests to stay at the table will do the opposite.”

He added, “If wealthy and healthy people opt out, a public plan suffers. Working families suffer.”


O’Rourke and de Blasio will both be participating in the upcoming July 30-31 Democratic debates in Detroit, although they are scheduled for separate nights.

O’Rourke will have to do much better than he did in the last debate, when he looked woefully unprepared. He’ll be facing both Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, among others. According to NBC News, O’Rourke has spent more time preparing for the upcoming debate than he did last time. That’s a relief.


Still, it must really suck when Bill de Blasio is trying to pick you off.

Weekend Editor, Splinter