Former Vice President Joe Biden is lying about Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-For-All Plan.
“We should not be starting from scratch. We should be building from what we have. There’s no time to wait,” Biden told a crowd in Dover, New Hampshire last Friday. Of his own healthcare plan, he said if “you like your employer-based insurance, you get to keep it,” while under Medicare for All, “you lose it, period.”
Biden’s implication that Medicare-For-All will force voters to “start from scratch” is a startling echo of President Trump’s own attacks of the proposal, which also suggest that the move will leave voters without coverage. The president falsely wrote in a USA Today op-ed “Under the Democrats’ plan, today’s Medicare would be forced to die.”
In truth, the legislation supported by Bernie Sanders (as well as Sen. Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, and Mayor Bill de Blasio), is popular with voters and permits voters to stay on their private plans during a four year transition. The bill covers essential treatments while expanding categories of benefits to include dental and vision coverage. Federal programs such as the Veterans Heath Administration and Indian Helath Service will continue.
Biden has struggled to impress in the healthcare debate thus far, an issue which 80% of Americans rated as “very important” to their votes in a Gallup Poll last year. A whopping 70% of voters support expanding Medicare to include all Americans, but Biden proposed his own healthcare plan today, which proposes drastically increasing subsidies to the Affordable Care Act in an attempt to lower premiums, while also including the “public option” which will be “like Medicare,” which Obama failed to pass in 2009.
His pitch could basically be boiled down to “Like Obamacare, but better!” Biden’s strategy seems to be to associate himself as closely as possible to the positive brand recognition of Obamacare, which is enjoying record highs in popularity since it was passed into law in 2010.
While Medicare-For-All supporters view the proposal as the logical next step that builds off of Obamacare’s progress, Biden is instead trying to frame the healthcare debate as a battle of Obamacare versus Medicare-For-All, slyly suggesting that to endorse Sanders’ plan is to somehow give up the valiant, hard-fought progress of the progressive cause.
“I knew the Republicans would do everything in their power to try and repeal Obamacare,” Biden wrote in an email to supporters Monday. “But I’m surprised that so many Democrats are running on getting rid of it.”
“I know how hard it was to get passed,” he added. “Starting over just makes no sense to me.”
Sanders fired back in a tweet this morning, reminding the former vice president that he was on the front lines in defending Obamacare when the Republican-controlled Congress tried to repeal it in 2017.
“If the bill passed today in the House became law, thousands of Americans would die, because they would no longer have access to health care,” Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in 2017.
Sanders’ tweet also noted the irony of Biden’s attempt to label Medicare-For-All as an attack on Obamacare, when Obama himself has referred to the proposal as “a good new idea.”
I appreciate that President Obama has said recently that Medicare for All is a good idea. pic.twitter.com/hEykXZjLxd
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 15, 2019
Nathan Wellman is a Grit Post contributing editor in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @LIGHTNINGWOW. You can also email him at info AT gritpost DOT com.