Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign on Wednesday highlighted the potentially deadly flaws in former Vice President Joe Biden's healthcare plan and accused him of "once again peddling dishonest insurance company talking points" after Biden's team launched its latest attack on Medicare for All.
"Biden's proposal preserves the corporate greed and corruption that rots our healthcare system, and his plan leaves millions of Americans uninsured," said Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir after the Biden campaign issued a statement condemning Medicare for All and questioning the "credibility" of Sanders and others who support it.
"We need to have the guts to stand up to corporate greed. That's what this election is about."
—Faiz Shakir, Sanders campaign manager
"Will Joe Biden tell the American people how many more of them he's willing to allow to go bankrupt?" Shakir asked. "How many more people would die because they don't get to a doctor in time? We need to have the guts to stand up to corporate greed. That's what this election is about."
Team Sanders also called out Biden for reversing course and greenlighting the creation of a super PAC to help fund his cash-strapped campaign.
"At the same time we are learning that Joe Biden has a super PAC to bankroll his campaign with unlimited donations from corporations and billionaires," said Shakir, "he is once again peddling dishonest insurance company talking points about Medicare for All."
As the investigative website Sludge reported Wednesday, at least staffers on the pro-Biden "Unite the Country" super PAC have ties to the health insurance industry.
Also today: we learned that the new Biden super PAC is led by a former Biden aide who is now the CEO of a lobbying firm representing healthcare clients: https://t.co/Ndqwfiu7Ws
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) October 31, 2019
Shakir's statement came hours after Biden's deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield accused Sanders of being dishonest with the public about how he would finance Medicare for All, which two leading economists said would lower taxes for most U.S. workers.
"It's alarming that Senator Sanders, who has been up-front for years that Medicare for All would require middle-class tax hikes, won't tell voters 'right now' how much more they will pay in taxes because of his plan," Bedingfield said in a statement. "When you're running to take on the most dishonest president in American history, Senator Sanders and others who back Medicare for All have to preserve their credibility."
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In response to Bedingfield's comments, Michael Lighty, a Sanders ally and healthcare policy expert, tweeted:
What’s alarming: the $262B from taxpayers that insurance companies get each year to deny us care.
What’s the defense for $100B in healthcare industry profits?
— Michael Lighty (@mlighty60) October 31, 2019
"The fight right now is to get the American people to understand that we're spending twice as much per capita, that of course, we can pay for it."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
The Biden campaign's statement came in reaction to Sanders' remarks during an interview with CNBC's John Harwood on Tuesday.
"The fight right now is to get the American people to understand that we're spending twice as much per capita, that of course, we can pay for it," Sanders said of Medicare for All. "We're paying it now in a very reactionary, regressive way. I want to pay for it in a progressive way."
"You're asking me to come up with an exact detailed plan of how every American—how much you're going to pay more in taxes, how much I'm going to pay," Sanders added. "I don't think I have to do that right now."
As Common Dreams reported, Sanders outlined a number of possible financing mechanisms when he introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the Senate in April.
In his statement Wednesday, Shakir said, "When we eliminate premiums, co-payments, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses, the overwhelming majority of people will pay less for better healthcare."