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

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs 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 HarrisTlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Trump by the numbers: 2024 isn't simple MORE (D-Calif.) proposed at a recent CNN town hall event.

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“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 KaineDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill Desperate Dems signal support for cutting Biden bill down in size 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 WarrenDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Biden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service Trump by the numbers: 2024 isn't simple MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersFilibuster becomes new litmus test for Democrats Gallego says he's been approached about challenging Sinema Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (I-Vt.) and Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Bass raises nearly million since launching LA mayor campaign CNN legal analyst knocks GOP senator over remark on Biden nominee 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.