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Sanders hits back at Biden over criticism of 'Medicare for All'

Sanders hits back at Biden over criticism of 'Medicare for All'
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSirota: Biden has not fulfilled campaign promise of combating union-busting tactics Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (I-Vt.) hit back at fellow presidential hopeful Joe BidenJoe BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE after the former vice president criticized his "Medicare for All" plan. 

Sanders took aim at Biden for saying that transitioning to his health care plan, which would eliminate private health insurance, would leave patients with serious illnesses such as cancer in limbo.

"At a time when Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE 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," Sanders's campaign said in an email to supporters.

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"It is preposterous to argue that as we expand Medicare For All that people with cancer and other illnesses will not get the care that they need. 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," he added.

Biden has called for building upon the Obama-era Affordable Care Act and making a public option such as Medicare available to those who want it.

“He said you're going to have to raise taxes on the middle class. He said it's going to end all private insurance,” Biden told reporters Friday of Sanders’s health care plan. 

“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,” he added.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding Sanders’s statement.

Health care has emerged as a key issue dividing the progressive and centrist candidates on the campaign trail.

Several 2020 White House contenders have expressed support for Medicare for All, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as well as former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.  

Candidates have been more reserved about whether they support eliminating private insurance, with Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioYang expands lead in NYC mayor race: poll Republicans need to stop Joe Biden's progressive assault on America New York City's suicide mission should alarm the entire nation MORE (D) saying they would favor such a move and Harris initially expressing support but later backtracking.