Democrats Clash On Health Care In Debate

By CodeBlue | 31 July 2019

The Democratic debate revealed divisions between liberals and moderates on health care.

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — “Medicare for All” became the main issue during the Democratic primary debate in Detroit, as liberal and moderate candidates argued about whether the United States should adopt a government-run health insurance programme.

The Huffington Post reported that Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom are leading in the polls, were the main candidates making the case for Medicare for All.

“Health care is a human right, not a privilege,” Sanders was quoted saying. “I believe that. I will fight for that.” 

Candidates during the debate who argued against Medicare for All, as it would abolish private health insurance, included former Maryland congressman John Delaney, Montana governor Steve Bullock, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar.

Delaney claimed that the single-payer national health insurance system would take away health care from Americans, saying: “We don’t have to go around and be the party of subtraction, and telling half the country, who has private health insurance, that their health insurance is illegal.”

Warren responded: “We are the Democrats. We are not trying to take health care away from anyone. That’s what Republicans are trying to do.”

When Ohio Representative Tim Ryan said Sanders could not be certain about the Medicare For All benefits he was touting like dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses for senior citizens, Sanders shot back: “I wrote the damn bill.”

The Huffington Post reported Delaney as saying that Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal would lead to worse health care as it would pay hospitals less. 

But neither Sanders nor Warren reportedly addressed the real issue of significant cuts in payments to health care providers under Medicare for All, focusing instead on pharmaceutical and insurance companies’ profits. 

“The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible in health care coverage,” Warren said. “Medicare for All will fix that.”

Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke suggested a “public option” that allows Americans to keep their private health insurance, even as a new government-run insurance system with automatic enrollment is created.

“If people like me are right that the public alternative is going to be not only more comprehensive, but more affordable than any of the corporate options around there, we’ll see Americans walk away from the corporate options into that Medicare option, and it will become Medicare for All without us having to kick anybody off their insurance,” O’Rourke said.

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