Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden suggested in a new interview that he could veto Medicare for All, one of the top policy goals of his 2020 rival Senator Bernie Sanders, questioning the high price tag of a universal health care program.
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell asked Biden in a pre-taped interview whether he would sign Medicare for All legislation if he became president and a watered-down version of the bill passed both legislative chambers.
“It comes to your desk. Do you veto it?” O’Donnell asked.
“I would veto anything that delays providing the security and the certainty of health care being available now,” Biden responded.
“You got to look at the cost. I want to know how did they find $35 trillion,” in the event the legislation passed by “some miracle, if some epiphany occurred,” Biden said.
The former vice president went on to suggest that Medicare for All would result in tax hikes on the middle and working classes.
“Is it going to significantly raise taxes on the middle class? Which it will,” Biden said.
“My opposition isn’t to the principle that you should have Medicare. Everybody, health care should be a right in America,” he added. “My opposition relates to whether or not it’s doable, and, two, what the cost is and what the consequences to the rest of the budget are.”
“How are you going to find $35 trillion over the next 10 years without having profound impacts on everything from taxes for middle class, working class people, as well as the impact on the rest of the budget?” the Democratic 2020 frontrunner questioned.
Sanders argues his plan would cost $30 trillion over a decade. The Vermont progressive has cited a Yale University study claiming that universal health care would save $450 billion per year in health care costs as well as save 60,000 patients from dying unnecessarily every year.
Biden currently leads Sanders in polling nationally, with 51 percent support compared to Sanders’s 35.3 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.