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Biden Hits Warren, Sanders on Medicare for All at Dem Debate

Joe Biden (right) gestures towards Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential debate in Houston, Texas, September 12, 2019. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden quickly took aim at fellow 2020 contenders Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders at Thursday evening’s Democratic presidential debate, saying their sweeping Medicare for All proposals simply cost too much.

“My plan costs a lot,”the former vice president said of his plan to enhance the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s signature legislative accomplishment. “But it doesn’t cost $30 trillion. That’s twice the entire federal budget before it exists now. How will we pay for it? I want to hear. [Warren] has not said how she’ll pay for it, and [Sanders] only gets about half way there. I lay out how I can pay for it and how I can get it done and why it’s better.”

Warren agreed that Americans “owe a huge debt” to former President Barack Obama for the Affordable Care Act.

“The question is how best we can improve on it,” Warren said. “We make sure everyone gets covered at the lowest possible cost. We pay for it from those at the top, the richest and biggest corporations will pay more and middle class families will pay less.”

Sanders hit back harder, saying “500,000 Americans are going bankrupt” from treating severe diseases such as cancer. “You’ve got to defend the fact that 500,000 Americans are going bankrupt.”

“I know a lot about cancer and let me tell you something: it’s personal,” responded Biden, whose son Beau passed away from cancer in 2015 “They will not go bankrupt because of that.”

Biden’s campaign has previously said that Medicare for All would cost taxpayers between $30 and $40 trillion over ten years, would require raising taxes on the middle class, and would include no option for a patient to keep their current insurance plan.

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