At the Democratic presidential debate Wednesday, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke tried to stick up for retaining some private insurance plans in America’s healthcare system, but New York Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the idea.
O’Rourke defended private insurance as an option alongside Medicare for people who don’t have health care that works for them, thus ensuring "choice." But de Blasio interjected to say it’s not working at all for "tens of millions of Americans."
"Congressman O'Rourke, private insurance is not working for tens of millions of Americans, when you talk about the co-pays, the deductibles, the premiums, the out of pocket expenses, it's not working," de Blasio said to O'Rourke.
"How can you defend a system that is not working? You gotta start by acknowledging the system is not working for people. Why are you defending private insurance?" de Blasio continued.
Former Rep. John Delaney then jumped in to say Democrats should find a middle way—and received loud applause.
"We should be the party that keeps what's working and fixes what's broken," Delaney said.
He then argued for why a single-payer system would be unworkable because costs would be out of control.
"If you go to every hospital in this country and ask one question, which is how would it have been for you last year if every one of your bills was paid at the Medicare rate? Every report administrator said they would close," Delaney remarked. "The ‘Medicare for all’ bill requires payments to stay at current Medicare rates. To some extent, we are supporting a bill that will have every hospital closing."
Delaney’s position flatly contradicts not just de Blasio's, but also some of the top candidates such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who want a government-run system.