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.

“How we gonna pay for it? I wanna hear tonight,” Biden said, accusing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) of not clearly explaining how she would pay for the plan. (Related: Three doctors in Congress pan socialist ‘Medicare for all’ as really ‘healthcare for none’)

Medicare for All 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 “those at the very top, the richest individuals, the richest corporations.”

“They are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less,” 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 “have to deal with total cost.”

“Families are paying every time they don’t get a prescription filled because they can’t pay for it,” she said. “What we’re talking about here is what’s going to happen in family’s pockets, what’s going to happen for family’s budgets.

“For hardworking families, costs are gonna go down and that’s how it should work for Medicare for All,” 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.

“My healthcare plan does significantly cut the out-of-pocket cost by thousands of dollars,” Biden said. “Out of the 160 million people who like their healthcare now, they can keep it. If not, they can leave.”

Biden was likely referring to the 180 million or so Americans who are currently on an employer-provided private plan.

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The former VP added that Warren’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.

“That’s the reality. It’s not a bad idea if you like it. I don’t like it,” 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, “Nobody has yet said how much it’s gonna cost!”

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