South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate, argued that one his challengers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), doesn’t “trust” the American people to make health care decisions because his Medicare for All plan would outlaw existing private health insurance for millions of Americans.
“The problem, Senator Sanders, with that damn bill that you wrote, and that Senator Warren backs, is that it doesn’t trust the American people. I trust you to choose what makes the most sense for you. Not my way or the highway,” Buttigieg said during the presidential debate on Thursday evening.
“Now look, I think we do have to go far beyond tinkering with the ACA. I propose Medicare for all who want it. We take a version of Medicare, we make it available for the American people, and if we’re right, as progressives, that that public alternative is better, then the American people will figure that out for themselves. I trust the American people to make the right choice for them. Why don’t you?” he added.
In response, Sanders pivoted to George Stephanopoulos, one of the moderators.
“George, you talked about, was it 150 million people on private insurance? Fifty million of those people lose their private insurance every year when they quit their jobs or they go unemployed or their employer changes their insurance policy. Medicare for All is comprehensive health care. Covers all basic needs, including home health care,” Sanders said.
“It allows you to go to any doctor you want, which many private insurance company programs do not. So, if you want comprehensive health care, freedom of choice regarding doctor or hospital, no more than $200 a year for prescription drugs, taking on the drug companies and the insurance companies, moving to Medicare for All is the way to go,” he added.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a presidential candidate, said she disagrees with Sanders on Medicare for all.
“But when it comes to our health care and when it comes to our premiums, I go with the doctor’s creed, which is, do no harm. And while Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page eight — on page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it and that means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance — that’s in four years,” she said.
“I don’t think that’s a bold idea, I think it’s a bad idea. And what I favor is something that what Barack Obama wanted to do from the very beginning and that is a public option. A non-profit choice that would bring down the cost of insurance, cover 12 million more people, and bring down the prices for 13 million more people — that is a bold idea,” she added.