Former vice president Joe Biden released his campaign's healthcare plan Monday morning in a short video in which Biden criticizes some of his fellow presidential primary contenders who want to eliminate Obamacare and private insurance.
In reference to a moment in the first Democratic primary debate when Sens. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) raised their hands in support of eliminating private insurance, Biden said he "absolutely" does not support eliminating private insurance.
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"I believe we have to protect and build on Obamacare. That's why I proposed adding a public option to Obamacare as the best way to lower costs for everyone," Biden declares. He then says he understands the appeal of Medicare for All proposals supported by Sens. Harris, Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) but that those proposals would mean "getting rid of Obamacare."
"I'm surprised so many Democrats are running on getting rid of it," Biden added. "Starting over makes no sense to me at all."
Biden's healthcare plan would cost $750 billion over ten years, according to the campaign. It would extend tax credits to Americans purchasing insurance, allow the government to directly negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients, and permit foreign importation of prescription drugs.
The plan would also allow illegal immigrants to purchase insurance through the Obamacare exchanges but would not allow them to receive federal subsidies for health insurance.
Closing out the video, Biden stated he would do everything he could to protect and build upon the signature legislative accomplishment of his and President Obama's eight years in office.
Sanders, who advocates for government-run healthcare, accused Biden of making arguments about Obamacare's deficiencies similar to those that Republicans and pharmaceutical companies make. Sanders followed up his criticism of Biden's position on healthcare reform in a series of tweets Monday morning.
"I appreciate that President Obama has said recently that Medicare for All is a good idea," Sanders tweeted including a video of President Obama on the campaign trail in 2018 advocating for Medicare for All.
I appreciate that President Obama has said recently that Medicare for All is a good idea. pic.twitter.com/hEykXZjLxd
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 15, 2019
Sanders noted he voted for and supported Obamacare but said he would "not be deterred from ending the corporate greed that creates dysfunction in our health care system."
Over the weekend the Sanders campaign told the New York Times Sanders intends to "confront the Democratic opponents of Medicare for All" in a speech Wednesday.