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

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate 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 HarrisBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Confused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers 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 KaineTexas raises age to purchase tobacco to 21 Texas raises age to purchase tobacco to 21 Democrats push to make national security a 2020 wedge issue 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 WarrenBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Trump steadfast in denials as support for impeachment grows MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersConfused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers Confused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers Biden leads in early voting states, followed by Warren, Sanders: poll MORE (I-Vt.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerFox News poll shows Trump trailing Biden, Sanders, other Democrats Fox News poll shows Trump trailing Biden, Sanders, other Democrats Poll: Biden leads, Warren surges in South Carolina 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.