Biden slams Sanders over cost of ‘Medicare for All’

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday attacked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over the cost of his signature “Medicare for All” plan during a debate in New Hampshire.

Biden noted that Sanders likes to say he “wrote the damn bill” on Medicare for All, but “he’s unwilling to say what the damn thing’s gonna cost.”

While Biden has attacked Medicare for All before, his criticism on Friday was more forceful than usual as he fell out of the top tier in Iowa and Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg rose. 

Biden pointed to a CBS interview in January when Sanders said “nobody knows” the cost of his Medicare for All plan. The former vice president also said Sanders’s attitude is “we’ll find out later” what the cost is. 

Multiple studies have put the cost around $32 trillion over 10 years, a daunting sum. 

Sanders countered that total costs would go down for middle class people because they would no longer have to pay premiums and deductibles, which would more than offset the higher taxes to pay for the plan. 

Sanders said his plan would “save the average American substantial sums of money,” so that it would be “much less expensive than [Biden’s] plan” for the average person. 

Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) both drew applause from the audience for their attacks on Medicare for All. 

Klobuchar, another moderate along with Biden, noted that Sanders does not have support for his plan even among most Democrats in the Senate.

“Two thirds of the Democrats in the Senate are not on your bill,” Klobuchar said. 

Biden also pointed to the struggles Sanders’s home state of Vermont had in trying to implement a state-level Medicare for All system, an idea it dropped in 2014 after the tax increases were deemed too high. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has taken fire from multiple sides on Medicare for All, tried to relay a more unifying message on the subject.

“We are the Democrats, we are on the side of expanding health care,” she said, while pointing to unilateral action she would take to lower drug prices on her first day in office.

Tags 2020 Democratic debate Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Joe Biden Medicare for all Pete Buttigieg
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