Sanders Calls Biden Medicare for All Comments "Disingenuous"

Appearing on CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper Sunday morning, Senator Bernie Sanders responded to claims that Medicare for All would necessarily raise the cost of living for middle-class Americans.

Tapper played a clip of former Vice President Joe Biden's appearance in Dearborn, Michigan, on Wednesday in which he implied that candidates who claim they can implement Medicare for All without taxing the middle class were not in touch with reality. "Come on, what is this, a fantasy world?" Biden asked reporters.

Medicare for All first gained attention as part of Sanders' 2016 campaign platform. Many Democratic hopefuls running for the 2020 nomination have taken on the issue in the current campaign. Candidates including Senators Corey Booker, Kristin Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have all endorsed some version of the plan, though they have not all agreed on important aspects, like the question of whether universal healthcare would require or result in the end of private insurance coverage in the U.S.

Responding to Biden's comment, Sanders told Tapper, "The first thing we have to understand is that under Medicare for All, similar to Canada, people aren't going to pay any premiums. They aren't going to have any deductibles. They aren't going to have any copayments."

Under Canada's system, individuals do not pay for standard medical expenses like doctor visits and hospital stays. Instead, care is publicly funded by local governments, which receive funding from the federal government.

Sanders continued, "But I do believe that in a progressive way people will have to pay taxes. The wealthy will obviously pay the lion's share of those taxes."

Sanders' argument is based on the idea that Medicare for All will save individuals money by doing away with the "incredible profiteering" of private insurance companies, so that even if people's taxes increase, their total medical expenses — which can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars annually for some Americans — will be reduced.

"So people will be paying in some cases, more in taxes, but overall, because they're not going to be paying premiums, copayments, deductibles, they'll be paying less for their healthcare," he explained during the CNN interview.

With the next round of primary debates just days away, 20 candidates are once again expected to take the stage over two nights, on July 30 and 31.

Biden and Sanders will not appear together this time around. Sanders will debate candidates including Warren and Buttigieg on July 30, while Biden will once again face Harris and Gillibrand on July 31.

Bernie Sanders on CNN
Bernie Sanders says Medicare for All will save Americans money CNN