Former vice president Joe Biden on Sunday asserted that a Medicare for All plan such as that advocated by Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) could not in itself be a solution to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
“One of the reasons we are unprepared [for the outbreak] is we don’t have a system,” Sanders said during the CNN Democratic primary debate on Sunday. “We’ve got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system.”
“With all due respect to Medicare for All, you have a single-payer system in Italy. It doesn’t work there,” Biden countered. “It has nothing to do with Medicare for All. That would not solve the problem at all.”
Italy is currently facing the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe. As of Monday the country has confirmed over 24,500 cases of the coronavirus and 1,809 deaths due to the illness, according to the New York Times.
To fight the epidemic in the U.S., Biden advocated waiving health-care costs for coronavirus patients because of the unprecedented effect of the outbreak.
“We can take care of that right now by making sure that no one has to pay for treatment, period, because of the crisis,” Biden said. “That is a national emergency and that’s how it’s handled.”
The U.S. has so far recorded over 3,500 cases and 66 deaths from the coronavirus, with large outbreaks in the states of Washington, California, and New York.