Trailing Bernie, Joe Biden Trashes Medicare-for-All in Nashua

Printed from:

Trailing significantly in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary polls to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden slammed the Vermont socialist’s health care plan in a speech at Girls Inc. in Nashua on Tuesday afternoon.

Biden, who arrived 50 minutes late to his own event, mentioned only two other candidates who are running for president:  Sanders and Donald Trump.

With Sanders leading Biden 29 points to 14 points in New Hampshire in the latest Emerson College poll, Biden attempted to present himself as the more pragmatic candidate of the two to take on Trump.

Biden spoke glowingly of his health care plan which – -although not universal — would cover more than 97 percent of Americans, according to his campaign web site.

Biden says his plan would require an extra $750 billion in government health care spending over the next 10 years.

He said while his plan is not cheap, he thinks it is far more workable than what Sanders and others are offering.

“It costs a lot of money, but we can do it without raising taxes on the middle class,” he said in his speech Tuesday, February 4. “It’s not $30 trillion like Medicare-for-All. Thirty to 40 trillion. I can get my plan passed through the United States Congress. I can get it passed right away. Senator Sanders, God love him, and the others have attacked my health care plan. They say, ‘it’s too small.’ Well, first of all, they’re dead wrong about the amount of coverage. [Obamacare] was a historic achievement this party should be proud to defend. But look, Bernie has talked about the single-payer health care system for 30 years now. He hasn’t moved it an inch.”

Biden noted that former Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who unsuccessfully attempted to implement a single-payer health care system in Vermont earlier this decade, has endorsed Biden this year and not Sanders. Under Shumlin’s failed 2014 plan, state income tax would have increased by 9 percentage points and all employers would have had an 11.5 percentage point payroll tax increase, as Vox points out.

Biden also said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and the majority of Democrats in Congress oppose Medicare-for-All, and therefore it cannot happen.

“So how’s it gonna pass? How’s it gonna move? How’s it getting done?,” he asked. “You can’t give a speech about it. It actually has to get done.”

“And look, the fact is, before Bernie was straightforward about raising middle-class taxes,” he added. “Now, he and the other supporters of Medicare-for-All won’t tell you how much it costs or who’s gonna pay for it. They used to say it’s $30 trillion and there’d be a middle-class tax increase, but not anymore. Now he says, ‘nobody knows what it will cost.’ Who’s gonna pay for it? He says, ‘we’re gonna find out’.”

In January on CBS Evening News, Sanders told host Norah O’Donnell when asked how much his plans would cost, “Nobody knows. This is impossible to predict.”

“I’m not questioning his intentions, but how is he going to convince anyone in the country?” Biden asked the crowd. “You don’t have to speculate who has the better approach.”

Biden did not mention problems created by the Affordable Care Act under President Barack Obama’s administration. 

The federal Affordable Care Act more than doubled the average health insurance premium, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.

In 2013, one year before Obamacare was fully implemented, the average health insurance premium was $2,784 per year. By the start of 2017, it had gone up to $5,712 per year — an increase of 105 percent.

Biden also said that under his health care plan, if people like their plan they can keep their plan.

Politifact states that this would be a “tough promise to keep” – noting it is similar to Obama’s well-known statement “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” which earned Politico’s 2013 Lie of the Year Award.