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Sanders: Biden 'sounding like Donald Trump' on Medicare for All

Sanders: Biden 'sounding like Donald Trump' on Medicare for All
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Sanders press secretary: 'Principal concern' of Biden appointments should be policy DeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump MORE (I-Vt.) says that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE “is sounding like Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE” on health care, escalating the battle between the 2020 presidential rivals. 

“I am disappointed, I have to say, in Joe, who is a friend of mine, really distorting what Medicare for All is about,” Sanders told The New York Times in an interview on Wednesday. “And unfortunately, he is sounding like Donald Trump. He is sounding like the health care industry in that regard.”

Asked to respond, Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said: "Joe Biden was instrumental to making Affordable Care Act and its hard-won benefits a reality for millions of Americans.  He disagrees with any Republican, Democrat, or Independent who wants to dismantle the ACA at a time when we should be protecting and building on it."

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Sanders has been championing "Medicare for All," while Biden has pushed for the smaller step of creating a government-run "public option" for ObamaCare. 

Biden has criticized Medicare for All, saying it would mean getting rid of ObamaCare and abolishing the current Medicare program, a line of attack also used by Republicans. 

“I’m surprised that so many Democrats are running on getting rid of [ObamaCare],” Biden said earlier this week. 

The fight between Sanders and Biden on health care reflects a larger divide in the Democratic Party on whether to push for full-scale government-run insurance for everyone, largely abolishing private insurance, or to advocate a somewhat smaller idea to give people the option of buying government-run insurance.

Fellow 2020 candidates Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden says family will avoid business conflicts Biden says China must play by 'international norms' MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSchwarzenegger says he would 'absolutely' help Biden administration Disney chair says he would consider job in Biden administration if asked Despite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill MORE (D-Mass.) have backed Medicare for All, aligning more with Sanders than with Biden.