Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took a swing at Medicare for All — Bernie Sanders’ signature policy proposal — on Friday, telling reporters that he still supports the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare.
As The Hill reports, Biden accused Sanders of wanting to “raise taxes on the middle class” in order to pay for his single payer healthcare proposal, suggesting that there is simply “no time” to implement Medicare for All.
“I don’t want to start over. No time, man. We cannot have a hiatus of six months, a year, two, three, to get something done,” the Democratic front-runner said, without specifying what he means by there being “no time” to switch to a single-payer system.
Progressive journalists and pundits were quick to point out that Biden’s claims appear to be counter-factual.
“Biden keeps casually lying about a mystery wait period between ACA and Medicare for All where people are dying off without insurance for months,” journalist Adam H. Johnson wrote on Twitter.
In an article fact-checking the former vice president’, Splinter described his claims as “lies.”
On Saturday, Bernie Sanders hit back at Biden, urging the former vice president and other Democrats to stop spreading “misinformation” about the proposal.
“At a time when Donald Trump and the health insurance industry are lying every day about Medicare for All, I would hope that my fellow Democrats would not resort to misinformation about my legislation.”
Sanders described Biden’s suggestion that those suffering from serious illnesses would be left in some sort of limbo until Medicare for All is enacted as “preposterous.”
Biden’s opposition to Sanders’ universal healthcare plan — which would abolish private health insurance — perhaps comes as no surprise given that the former vice president, as The Intercept reported, launched his presidential bid in the company of lobbyists and donors, including Daniel Hilferty.
Joe Biden's first campaign fundraiser this afternoon is hosted by corporate lobbyists, Republican donors and a health insurance CEO at the home of Comcast's top lobbyist https://t.co/ICMI5JpKg3— Lee Fang (@lhfang) April 25, 2019
Hilferty is on the board of America’s Health Insurance Plans, which is aggressively working to defeat the progressives’ push for socialized healthcare, and regularly donates to Republicans.
In April, Vox reported that the healthcare industry is “betting on Joe Biden in its war against Medicare for all,” since he has remained opposed to the notion of a single-payer healthcare system.
The publication also noted that the industry has formed a lobbying coalition in order to stop Sanders’ proposal from becoming reality.
Question: "At what point do you plan to point out sharper differences between you and Senator Harris and Sanders on health care specifically? What are your differences with them on health care and why is their approach wrong?"— The Hill (@thehill) July 13, 2019
Joe Biden: "Pretty profound differences." pic.twitter.com/QM6QQrCal9
Despite not being embraced by progressives, Joe Biden remains the Democratic front-runner. The former vice president is leading in virtually all polls, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polling data.
Sanders is experiencing a drop in the polls, however, with Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts evolving into top-tier candidates, and even surpassing the Vermont senator in some of the polls.