Former Vice President Joe Biden escalated his opposition to Medicare for All and its proponents on Saturday, saying he was “against” any Democrat looking to scrap Obamacare.
Biden, who has bucked a majority of the Democrat field by refusing to support the universal healthcare proposal, made the statement while addressing a presidential forum organized by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I’m against any Democrat who wants to get rid of Obamacare,” the 76-year-old frontrunner told the union audience, before claiming the American people were unaware of exactly everything in the 2,300 page law.
Biden’s comments were made after the union’s president kicked off the forum by saying his organization, which at 1.4 million members is the nation’s largest public employees union, supported a single-payer healthcare system. Following the introduction, a number of other 2020 Democrats at the forum, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT), echoed the sentiment in their remarks.
Biden, however, was not one of them. Since announcing his presidential campaign, the former vice president has lambasted Medicare for All as overly ambitious and difficult to implement. On the campaign trail, he has ridiculed the proposal for seeking to ban private health insurance and accused his rivals, except for Sanders, of being deceptive about the plan’s costs and consequences.
“Bernie’s been very honest about it. He said you’re going to have to raise taxes on the middle class. He said it’s going to end all private insurance. I mean, he’s been straightforward about it. And he’s making his case,” Biden said during a July interview with CNN, before adding other Democrats have not been as transparent.
Such attacks have only inspired backlash. Sanders, in particular, has taken the lead in repudiating Biden, as he authored the current Medicare for All bill languishing in Congress.
“The charge that he’s making is exactly what the Republicans are saying,” the Vermont senator said last month when accusing Biden of parroting GOP talking points on Medicare for All.
Biden has not only continued the attacks, but also proposed his own healthcare plan. While Medicare for All would create a blanket government-run healthcare system, Biden has suggested fortifying and expanding Obamacare with a public option. Biden’s campaign has stated such an option would function similarly to Medicare and Medicaid, but would not be those exact programs.
“I believe we have to protect and build on Obamacare. That’s why I’ve proposed adding a public option to Obamacare as the best way to lower costs and cover everyone,” the former vice president said when unveiling the plan. “I understand the appeal of Medicare for All, but folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare, and I’m not for that.”