Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) rejected presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders's claim that he could pressure the West Virginia senator and other moderate Democrats to vote in favor of Medicare for All.
"Bernie is damn wrong on that one," Manchin said Wednesday when asked by NBC News about Sanders saying his health care plan would have support from moderate Democratic senators.
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Sanders said in a CNBC interview that moderate senators, including Manchin and Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), would rally behind his agenda and deliver the votes to implement a government-run healthcare system.
"Damn right they will," Sanders said when asked if he'd have their support.
Q: Sen Sanders says "Damn right" you would vote in favor of ‘Medicare-for-All’ if he was President…
MANCHIN: "Bernie is damn wrong on that one…"
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) October 30, 2019
Sanders has made Medicare for All and expanding government programs and benefits the focus of his presidential campaign. According to his own estimates, Medicare for All would cost $40 trillion over 10 years. The Vermont senator said if he were elected president, he would pressure lawmakers to support his agenda by rallying working people at the state level.
"Look, what happens right now is your average politician sits around and he or she thinks, ‘Let's see, if I do this I'm going to have the big money interest putting 30 second ads against me. So I better not do it,'" Sanders said. "But now they're going to have to think, ‘If I don't support an agenda for working people, I'm going to have President Sanders come into my state and rally working class people.'"
Manchin has previously criticized socialized medicine, questioning how supporters, such as Sanders and fellow 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) plan to pay for providing healthcare for more than 330 million people.
"We can’t even pay for Medicare for some and to go Medicare for All—we can’t take care of those who are depending on it right now," Manchin said in June.