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Local politicians and hospital workers protest the imminent closure of Hahnemann University Hospital at a rally outside the Center City facilities in Philadelphia on July 11, 2019. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

'The Difference Is Thousands of Lives': Sanders Releases Chart Contrasting Biden's Incremental Healthcare Plan With Medicare for All

"Biden's plan would preserve a broken system," said Sen. Bernie Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign

Jake Johnson

As Joe Biden continued his misleading attacks on single-payer during an AARP forum in Iowa on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign circulated a chart highlighting the sharp and deeply consequential differences between the former vice president's newly unveiled healthcare plan and Medicare for All.

While Medicare for All would provide "health coverage to everyone," the chart says, Biden's plan to bolster the Affordable Care Act and add a public option would leave "nearly 10 million people uninsured" and hit tens of millions more with "high co-pays and deductibles that will leave too many people at the mercy of insurers and drug companies."

"Biden's plan would preserve a broken system," said the Sanders campaign. "According to a recent survey, as many as one in four adults go without insurance at some point in a given year. That's fifty million people. By age 50, the average worker has held 12 jobs. Under Biden's plan, this broken and fractured system would be maintained."

"The difference is thousands of lives," tweeted Jacobin magazine founder Bhaskar Sunkara in response to the chart.

As Common Dreams reported on Monday, Matt Bruenig of the People's Policy Project estimated that Biden's healthcare plan would lead to the deaths of 125,000 people in the first decade by leaving millions uninsured.

The Sanders campaign's chart, sent to the press late Monday, came after Biden told an audience of around 200 Iowa seniors that, under Medicare for All, "Medicare as you know it goes away"—a line that quickly drew comparisons to President Donald Trump's claim last year that Medicare for All would lead to "Medicare for none."

 Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, slammed Biden's attack on Medicare for All in a statement late Monday.

"He needlessly scared seniors today by telling them that Medicare for All would mean 'Medicare as you know it goes away,'" said Lawson. "In fact, Medicare for All would greatly improve the program for current beneficiaries."

In a video posted on Twitter Monday night, Sanders highlighted Iowa seniors' lukewarm response after Biden asked whether they liked their private insurance providers before they retired.

Sanders, the lead Senate sponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019, contrasted the seniors' response to Biden with the enthusiastic applause Medicare for All received during the Vermont senator's Fox News town hall in April.

"At the end of the day," Sanders tweeted, "you've either got to be on the side of the people or the side of the health insurance companies. I know which side I'm on."


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