Healthcare

Biden calls for everyone having the choice to buy into Medicare

Former Vice President Joe Biden 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 Sanders (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.

{mosads}”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 Buttigieg (D), who has called for “Medicare for all who want it.”

In contrast, Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris (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.”

Tags 2020 Bernie Sanders Biden campaign Democratic primary Health care Insurance Joe Biden Medicare for all ObamaCare Pete Buttigieg
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