Biden calls for everyone having the choice to buy into Medicare

Biden calls for everyone having the choice to buy into Medicare

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden compares Trump to George Wallace Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' CNN Democratic debate drawing finishes third in cable news ratings race MORE on Monday called for giving everyone the option to buy into Medicare but stopped short of supporting the full "Medicare for All" proposal backed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' MORE (I-Vt.).

Biden framed his approach as giving people a choice between government-run insurance and private plans. In contrast, the proposal from Sanders, a rival presidential candidate, would require everyone to be on a government plan.

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"Whether you're covered through your employer or on your own or not, you all should have a choice to be able to buy into a public option plan for Medicare," Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh, the first major address of his presidential campaign, which he announced last week.

"Your choice," Biden added. "And if the insurance company isn't doing the right thing by you, you should have another choice."

That Biden is stopping short of Sanders’s plan is not surprising given that the former vice president is expected to run in a more moderate lane than Sanders’s progressive approach. The move, though, could still open Biden up to disappointment from some Medicare for All supporters in the primary.

Biden’s position is similar to that of fellow candidates such as former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE (D), who has called for "Medicare for all who want it."

In contrast, Sanders and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWhat to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much Biden compares Trump to George Wallace CNN Democratic debate drawing finishes third in cable news ratings race MORE (D-Calif.) have been leaning the hardest into the idea of abolishing the current role of private insurers.

Biden was vice president when ObamaCare passed, and he praised that law.

"Affordable health care was a huge step forward, the ACA in our country," Biden said.

"We have to stop this administration's effort to gut it first, and then we have to move on and finish the job and make health care a right," he added. "Health care is a right, not a privilege."