Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is acknowledging that his proposals for sweeping government programs would require middle-class Americans to pay more taxes.

But he says they’d still spend less on health care under his system than they do today through the private insurance system.

Sanders at first seemed to dodge the inquiry about whether he would raise taxes, focussing on his promises to extend Medicare to all Americans and provide free college through state colleges. He admitted that he would raise taxes when moderator Savanah Guthrie pointed out that he had not actually answered her question.

“Senator Sanders, I’ll give you ten seconds to ask the very direct question,” Guthrie said. “Will you raise taxes for the middle-class in a Sanders administration?”

“Yes. They will pay more in taxes but less in health care,” Sanders said.

Sanders is a self-professed democratic socialist who wants a Medicare-style system to cover all Americans’ health care services. He says he’d make public colleges and universities tuition free and eliminate existing student debt.

Sanders said Thursday at the second Democratic presidential debate that education proposals would be paid for by taxes on the wealthy and corporations. But he confirms that other Americans would have to pay more taxes for his health care program, in lieu of the existing system of private premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

The second debate of the 2020 Democratic presidential debate is kicking off with 10 more candidates, including many of the leading White House hopefuls.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is center stage Thursday night in Miami alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Joining them for the two-hour event are two other top contenders: California Sen. Kamala (KAH’-mah-lah) Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj). At either end will be the candidates polling at the bottom of the field: author Marianne Williamson and California congressman Eric Swalwell.

Candidates will not get opening statements but will have time for closings.

Ten other candidates debated on Wednesday, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Includes reporting from The Associated Press.