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Democrat candidates clash over healthcare

Written by on September 13, 2019

Democrat candidates clash over healthcare

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden clashed with progressive challengers Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on healthcare.

With the top 10 Democratic candidates sharing the debate stage for the first time, they focused more on their shared opposition to Republican President Donald Trump and pared back some of the bickering that marked the first two debates this summer.

Biden was sharper and more aggressive than in either of the first two debates, when he came under frequent attack for his record on race and criminal justice during his long tenure in the U.S. Senate.

But like the first two debates, the Democrats were quick to leap into battle on healthcare, the issue that has ignited the most heated disagreements in the campaign for the party’s nomination to face Trump in the November 2020 election.

Biden, who served as vice president for eight years under Barack Obama, said he would build on Obama’s landmark 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. He accused Warren and Sanders of wanting to tear it down with Medicare for All, a proposed government-run healthcare program that would eliminate private insurance.

“I know that the senator says she’s for Bernie. Well I’m for Barack. I think Obamacare worked,” Biden said, asking Warren and Sanders to explain how they would pay for their plans. “This is about candor, honesty, big ideas.”

Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts who has moved into second behind Biden in many opinion polls of the Democratic race, praised Obama’s healthcare efforts but said more was needed.

“Now the question is how best can we improve on it,” she said, adding that under Medicare for All, those at the top would pay more but the middle class would pay less.

Aside from the exchange over healthcare, Biden and Warren avoided any direct confrontations. Sanders and former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro led the charge against Biden.

Sanders, who sponsored a bill in the U.S. Senate to create a Medicare for All plan, said the program based on the existing government-run Medicare program for Americans 65 and older was the most cost-effective approach. Some analysts have estimated his plan would cost $32 trillion over a decade.

Biden said his proposal would give Americans more options, including staying with their plans if they like them.

“I’ve never actually met anybody who likes their health insurance company,” Warren fired back.

Castro accused Biden of flip-flopping in his description of his own plan.

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro, 44, asked Biden, 76, who has faced questions about his age.

When Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, noted the exchange was what people did not like about politicians, Castro shot back: “That’s called an election.”

Published: 13/09/2019 by Radio NewsHub