Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats face critical 72 hours Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Manchin nixes Medicare expansion Manchin shutting down Sanders on Medicare expansion MORE (I-Vt.) on Monday took a shot at his presidential rival Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisObama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet MORE (D-Calif.) after she said she was not “comfortable” with his "Medicare for All" plan.
“I don't go to the Hamptons to raise money from billionaires,” Sanders tweeted. “If I ever visited there, I would tell them the same thing I have said for the last 30 years: We must pass a Medicare for All system to guarantee affordable health care for all, not just for those who can afford it.”
I don't go to the Hamptons to raise money from billionaires. If I ever visited there, I would tell them the same thing I have said for the last 30 years: We must pass a Medicare for All system to guarantee affordable health care for all, not just for those who can afford it.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 19, 2019
Sanders’s tweet comes after Harris pushed back on Sanders’s signature health care plan at a fundraiser in the Hamptons over the weekend.
“I support Medicare for All. But as you may have noticed, over the course of the many months, I've not been comfortable with Bernie's plan, the Medicare for All plan,” Harris said at the fundraiser, according to remarks provided by her campaign.
Harris co-sponsored Sanders’s Medicare for All bill in 2017 and again earlier this year. But since introducing her own Medicare for All plan last month, Harris has been touting that plan as better than Sanders’s.
The back and forth is another illustration of the intensity of the debate among Democratic presidential contenders over the details of their health care plans.
Harris’s Medicare for All plan includes a longer phase-in period, of 10 years, and maintains some role for private insurers, albeit in a highly regulated role administering the Medicare plans, which Sanders’s plan does not allow.
Harris argued the role of private insurers made her plan superior to Sanders’s.
“It comes back to listening,” Harris said at the fundraiser. “I've been listening to people, and people don't want to — to your point — they don't want to not have a private option.”
In response to Sanders's criticism of Harris holding the fundraiser in the Hamptons, Harris spokesman Ian Sams pointed to a 2016 MSNBC report that Sanders attended retreats for wealthy donors held by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“Oh, spare me,” Sams tweeted. “NBC reported Sanders was ‘a regular presence at luxurious fundraising retreats,’ including in Martha's Vineyard. No attendees ‘said they heard him chastise Wall Street banks or pharmaceutical companies to the faces of the lobbyists representing those interests.’ ”
Oh, spare me.— Ian Sams (@IanSams) August 19, 2019
NBC reported Sanders was "a regular presence at luxurious fundraising retreats," including in Martha's Vineyard. No attendees "said they heard him chastise Wall Street banks or pharmaceutical companies to the faces of the lobbyists representing those interests." https://t.co/75OH10U7Cb
Sanders campaign adviser David Sirota sent out an email newsletter on Monday also criticizing Harris, pointing to her comments in January calling for eliminating private insurance to argue she engaged in a “flip flop.”
“Criticizing Medicare for All may get applause at donor parties in the Hamptons, but the attacks are helping Bernie Sanders in the rest of America,” Sirota wrote.