Bernie Sanders says Joe Biden is doing what 'Republicans do' when it comes to his healthcare plan

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Bernie Sanders says Joe Biden is doing what 'Republicans do' when it comes to his healthcare plan

bernie sanders

AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Thursday, March 7, 2019.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders compared former Vice President Joe Biden's approach to healthcare reform to that of Republicans on Sunday, highlighting a combative new phase between two frontrunners in the Democratic presidential primary race.
  • Sanders directly rebuked Biden in an interview with The New York Times after the former vice president criticized the Vermont senator's signature "Medicare for All" plan during a New Hampshire campaign swing over the weekend.
  • Biden mentioned his opponent by name and attacked the proposal - which would create a single-payer healthcare system - as too costly to implement, citing its "$3 trillion" pricetag and said it would raise taxes on the middle class.
  • In a campaign video announcing his new healthcare plan on Monday, Biden again swiped at his primary rivals who support "Medicare for All," warning that implementing it "means getting rid of Obamacare - and I'm not for that."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sen. Bernie Sanders compared former Vice President Joe Biden's approach to healthcare reform to that of Republicans on Sunday, highlighting a combative new phase between two frontrunners in the Democratic presidential primary race.

Sanders directly rebuked Biden in an interview with The New York Times after the former vice president criticized the Vermont senator's signature "Medicare for All" plan during a New Hampshire campaign swing over the weekend. Biden mentioned his opponent by name and attacked the proposal - which would create a single-payer healthcare system - as too costly to implement, citing its "$3 trillion" pricetag and said it would raise taxes on the middle class.

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Read more: Americans are starting to dislike Bernie Sanders' 'Medicare for All' plan, but there is a Democratic healthcare idea that even Republicans voters like

Sanders fired back, telling The Times that he believes Biden's healthcare approach is a Republican one that aligns with the healthcare industry and it disregards measures that could save Americans money on their medical care.

"Obviously what Biden was doing is what the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industries, Republicans, do: ignoring the fact that people will save money on their health care because they will no longer have to pay premiums or out-of-pocket expenses," Sanders told the Times. "They will no longer have high deductibles and high co-payments."

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Read more: Democrats are embracing a radical change to US healthcare, and it could be the defining political fight for years to come

The battle between the two Democratic primary frontrunners stretched into Monday as Biden unveiled his long-anticipated healthcare plan, which would grant large new federal subsidies into the marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act and preserve the most popular elements of the law. It would also create a government-run public insurance option allowing people to buy health insurance that competes with private health plans.

But in a campaign video announcing the plan, he swiped at his primary rivals who support "Medicare for All," warning that implementing it "means getting rid of Obamacare - and I'm not for that."

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Then, Sanders shot back in a tweet and defended his role in passing former President Obama's signature healthcare law nearly a decade ago. He pointed out in a follow-up tweet that Obama supported "Medicare for-All," calling it in September last year one of the "good new ideas" Democrats are starting to embrace.

Opposing visions on healthcare reform have taken shape in the Democratic primary. Progressives are arguing that aiming for "Medicare for All" allows the party to protect themselves from negotiations that watered down the ACA's coverage and funding, and to ensure universal healthcare. Moderates contend that shoring up the ACA and maintaining a role for private insurance is the most effective way to extend health insurance for Americans in the short-term.

But the sprawling primary field is split: a dozen candidates favor the public option while eight candidates support "Medicare for All." 

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