By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) The subject of health care dominated the first portion of the Democratic presidential debate on Thursday, as the party’s top 10 candidates faced off for the first time in Houston, Texas.
Specifically, former Vice President Joe Biden clashed with the other candidates over a socialist proposal known as Medicare for All, which would see the federal government take over all healthcare delivery.
For his part, Biden wants to keep Obamacare in place and build on it — to the tune of what he estimates will cost an additional $734 million a year.
He then challenged the other top contenders to explain how their plans, some estimated to cost trillions of dollars, would be financed.
â€œHow we gonna pay for it? I wanna hear tonight,â€ Biden said, accusing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) of not clearly explaining how she would pay for the plan. (Related:Â Three doctors in Congress pan socialist â€˜Medicare for allâ€™ as really â€˜healthcare for noneâ€™)
Medicare for AllÂ is projected to cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to estimates.
When the moderator queried Warren if she would state clearly and plainly that higher taxes for the middle class would be needed in order to fund Medicare for All, Warren said she would tax â€œthose at the very top, the richest individuals, the richest corporations.â€
â€œThey are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less,â€ she claimed.
The moderator pressed further on whether taxes would have to be raised and whether private health insurance would be eliminated, but Warren simply said families â€œhave to deal with total cost.â€
â€œFamilies are paying every time they donâ€™t get a prescription filled because they canâ€™t pay for it,â€ she said. â€œWhat weâ€™re talking about here is whatâ€™s going to happen in familyâ€™s pockets, whatâ€™s going to happen for familyâ€™s budgets.
â€œFor hardworking families, costs are gonna go down and thatâ€™s how it should work for Medicare for All,â€ she said.
She never did answer the question directly, though by all estimates, taxes would have to be raised on every working American to pay for a universal government-run health plan, and even then it wouldn’t be enough.
For his part, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) claimed that Medicare for All was the most efficient plan being offered, and that Americans would never pay “more than $200 a year” for prescriptions.
Biden was then asked to respond to Warren and Sanders.
â€œMy healthcare plan does significantly cut the out-of-pocket cost by thousands of dollars,â€ Biden said. â€œOut of the 160 million people who like their healthcare now, they can keep it. If not, they can leave.â€
Biden was likely referring to the 180 million or so Americans who are currently on an employer-provided private plan.
The former VP added thatÂ Warrenâ€™s ‘wealth’ and corporate taxes would not raise nearly enough money to support a Medicare for All scheme, noting further that Sanders has stated that higher taxes will be required.
â€œThatâ€™s the reality. Itâ€™s not a bad idea if you like it. I donâ€™t like it,â€ he said.
Other candidates including Sens. Kamala Harris (California) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) discussed various aspects of healthcare, preferring some combination of a private and public option for insurance. The moderators then circled back to Biden who declared, â€œNobody has yet said how much itâ€™s gonna cost!â€
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