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Sanders Campaign Hits Back Against 'Dishonest' Biden Attack on Medicare for All

"It's disappointing Joe Biden is echoing the deceptions and falsehoods of the healthcare industry which is spending millions to protect the $100 billion in profits they made."

Democratic presidential hopefuls Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Former Vice President Joe Biden speak during the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision at Texas Southern University in Houston on September 12, 2019.

Democratic presidential hopefuls Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Former Vice President Joe Biden speak during the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision at Texas Southern University in Houston on September 12, 2019. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Former Vice President Joe Biden's attacks on Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All proposal during Thursday night's Democratic presidential primary debate drew criticism as "dishonest" from the Sanders campaign on Friday.

"Having a real debate about the healthcare crisis in America is critically important," Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement. "It's disappointing Joe Biden is echoing the deceptions and falsehoods of the healthcare industry which is spending millions to protect the $100 billion in profits they made last year."

Of those deceptions, Shakir said, was the fact that Biden—and others on stage—relied on framing the debate around an increase in taxes and not the full cost Americans pay for healthcare.

It was an attack echoed by MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday. 

Slate's Ben Mathis Lilley, in a column Friday, said that Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) should be clearer with voters that their plans would mean "going to a doctor's office or hospital without having to look up whether it accepts your insurance plan, receiving treatment without having to worry that you're being subjected to a given procedure just to bill the insurance company for it, and leaving without being charged (then or by mail two months later) for a deductible or copay or enormous surprise out-of-network balance."

Shakir took a step in that direction in his statement, explaining  that the Sanders proposal "provides comprehensive coverage to all Americans and ends all premiums, co-payments, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses."

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Shakir added that the Sanders plan would receive most of its funding from wealthy Americans through a progressive tax.

The first 30 minutes of Thursday's debate were largely taken up by the healthcare issue, with Sanders and Warren battling Biden, whose proposal would leave at least 10 million Americans uninsured. 

"Joe Biden may love the insurance industry and the outrageously high premiums, co-payments, and out-of-pocket expenses they charge us," said Shakir. "Most Americans don't."

"It is time to create a healthcare system that works for all of us, and not just the insurance companies and the drug companies," Shakir said.

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