Former Vice President Joe Biden repeated one of his old boss's most infamous pledges on Monday, saying under his proposal, "if you like your health care plan … you can keep it."
The 2020 Democratic frontrunner released a health care plan Monday that would seek to build upon the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which included subsidies to lower prices on the exchanges and also allowing for a "public option" his campaign called similar to Medicare.
"I give people the option. If you like your health care plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it," Biden told an audience at an AARP-sponsored forum. "If in fact you have private insurance, you can keep it."
Some of his 2020 rivals, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) are pushing for some form of a single-payer "Medicare for All" program. Some versions would completely eliminate private health insurance. Biden warned the crowd of that possible outcome if they liked the plans they have and said the transition would be difficult.
With his, Biden said, "you get a choice."
"You get full coverage, and you can stay with your plan if you like it," Biden said. "You can stay with your employer-based plan, or you can move on. I think it's the quickest, most reasonable, rational and best way to get to universal coverage."
His use of the phrase "you can keep it" created a stir, given how much it hurt President Barack Obama politically.
Obama pledged dozens of times during and after the passage of the Affordable Care Act that Americans who liked their current health care policies would be able to keep them, even punctuating his promise at times with an emphatic "period." However, millions of cancellation notices went out upon the law's implementation for not meeting Obamacare standards, leading him to get hit by PolitiFact with the 2013 "Lie of the Year."
Biden has criticized his rivals for wanting to scrap Obamacare, one of the Obama administration's main domestic accomplishments.
"Medicare goes away as you know it," he said of his rivals' proposals. "But the transition of dropping 300 million people on a new plan is, I think, kind of a little risky at this point."