Democratic White House hopeful hits Medicare for all as 'bad opening offer'

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocratic donors stuck in shopping phase of primary Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — CDC blames e-cigs for rise in youth tobacco use | FDA cracks down on dietary supplements | More drug pricing hearings on tap The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Next 24 hours critical for stalled funding talks MORE (D-Colo.), who is mulling a 2020 presidential bid, says a plan to provide "Medicare for all" and take away private insurance, which has the support of several Democratic White House hopefuls, is “a bad opening offer.”

Bennet is presenting himself as a moderate possible alternative in next year’s Democratic primary, although he has yet to formally announce his campaign.

Bennet warned that Democrats should remember the public backlash the party felt after some families were forced to transition to new health plans after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

He suggested the political turmoil would be worse if private health plans were abolished under Medicare for all, as Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Sanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 MORE (D-Calif.) proposed at a recent CNN town hall event.


“Remember when President Obama said, ‘If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.' And then a few people in America actually lost their insurance because of the way that the plan worked. Now what the Democrats are saying is, ‘If you like your insurance, we’re going to take it away from you,’ ” Bennet said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. 

Bennet said 180 million people get their insurance from employers and “like it” and 20 million Americans are on Medicare Advantage, a program under which people have private plans approved by Medicare, and “love it.” 

He said abolishing those plans under a single-payer federal health care plan “seems like a bad opening offer for me.” 

Bennet said he would prefer setting up a public health insurance plan to compete with private companies to provide more choice to consumers.

“I think we’d be much better off with a bill like the one I have with Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Kaine asks Shanahan if military families would be hurt by moving .6B for border wall Clinton on GOP promoting Trump 'stronger together' quote: Now copy my policies too MORE called Medicare X, that creates a public option,” he said. “It helps finish the work of ObamaCare.”

He said a public option would give consumers the choice of keeping private insurance or choosing a public plan.

Bennet is presenting himself as a more centrist alternative to liberal colleagues such as Harris and Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDNC punts on measure to reduce role of corporate PAC money Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 MORE (I-Vt.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 Dems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters MORE (D-N.J.), who are looking seriously at challenging Trump next year. 

“I think that I've got a different set of experiences than the other folks in the race, many of whom are my friends and people that I like. But, I spent time in business and time as a school superintendent before I was in the in the job that I'm in now,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd.