The second round of Democratic debates on Tuesday night, July 30, made a clear line between the pragmatic-minded moderates and front-runners. Bernie Sanders united with Elizabeth Warren to fend off his plan “Medicare for All,” saying, “I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas, Republicans are not afraid of big ideas!”
Over and over, moderate candidates like Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and former Rep. John Delaney argued Warren and Sanders’s plans are unrealistic and would scare off voters.
Delaney took aim at both of the senators arguing in his opening statement, “We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us, with bad policies like Medicare for All, free everything and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump re-elected.”
The notion of taking away private insurance from millions and a Green New Deal that “makes sure that every American’s guaranteed a government job that they want” is “a disaster at the ballot box,” Hickenlopper said.
While the Vermont lawmaker argued that his health plan was “not radical” and achievable, the centrists called it a political suicide, raising doubts about the quality of care it could offer, the costs and the disruption to the health care system. Bullock said he couldn’t support a plan that “rips away” insurance from Americans who have it.
Sanders, who has spent much of his career on this issue, grew agitated as he defended the decade-old plan and shot back at Ryan, “I wrote the damn bill!”
Earlier this month, the former Vice President Joe Biden issued near-constant attacks on Sanders’s health care plan, pointing out that it is too costly and complex to implement and it would raise taxes on the middle class. Sanders fired back, saying Biden’s plan aligns with “corporate greed.”
As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was supporting Sanders’s race from afar, Dr. Deane Waldman, in his op-ed published on The Hill, said, “Americans, even those who respond favorably to polls about a vague ‘Medicare for All’ system, would never stand for that.”
“‘Medicare for All,’ aka government-controlled health care, is precisely what we don’t want. It will either deny us the care we need or land our nation in bankruptcy court. Most people thought the cost of ‘Obamacare,’ $1.34 trillion, was excessive, but that’s peanuts compared to the $18 trillion price tag for Bernie Sanders’s—and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s—Medicare for All,” he added.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press