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 SandersOcasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech Trump and allies grapple with how to target Harris Chris Wallace: Kamala Harris 'not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say' MORE (I-Vt.) says that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE “is sounding like Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' 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 HarrisCandidates on Biden's VP list were asked what they thought Trump would nickname them as part of process: report Bass on filling Harris's Senate spot: 'I'll keep all my options open' Election security advocates see strong ally in Harris MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenNew poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts Trump and allies grapple with how to target Harris Chris Wallace: Kamala Harris 'not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say' MORE (D-Mass.) have backed Medicare for All, aligning more with Sanders than with Biden.