Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said on Tuesday that he estimates his Medicare for All plan would cost up to $40 trillion over 10 years.
"Somewhere between $30 and $40 trillion over a 10 year period," Sanders said, contrasting his plan with former vice president Joe Biden, "What the most serious economists tell us, that if we do nothing to fundamentally change the healthcare system, which is what Joe was talking about, keeping it as it is, we'll be spending something like $50 trillion over a 10 year period."
Sanders has previously said he would raise taxes, including for the middle class, that people would be happy to pay more taxes under his healthcare plan, and that "there will be pain" in a transition to a single-payer system.
Biden released his healthcare plan on Monday, saying in a video announcement, "Starting over makes no sense to me at all. I knew the Republicans would do everything in their power to repeal Obamacare. They still are. But I'm surprised that so many Democrats are running on getting rid of it."
Biden included Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) raising their hands in support of abolishing private health insurance during the Democratic debate in the video.
"I don't think there's a study out there, Bob, that does not suggest that Medicare for All is far less expensive than continuation of the current system," Sanders told the Washington Post's Robert Costa.
A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office said that whether overall healthcare spending would decrease under Medicare for All would depend on "complex choices that policymakers would confront." The CBO also said that it would require higher taxes and government spending, and potentially lead to longer wait times.