HOUSTON, TEXAS — Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro went after Joe Biden hard during the third Democrat debate, asking if the former vice president had just forgotten what he said minutes before.
“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that,” he said to Biden onstage during one of the more contentious moments.
Breitbart News asked Castro if he was going after Biden’s age — which has become a subject of discussion after several gaffes and memory lapses on the campaign trail.
Castro responded, “No, not at all. I was going after the difference that we have in health policy of what he had just said on the stage.”
He said Biden’s plan allows the uninsured to “buy in” or “opt in” to a public option, whereas his plan would enroll people automatically.
“The difference that he and I have is that his plan would leave 10 million people uncovered and my approach would cover everybody. It’s important what he said, because what he said is that you wouldn’t have to buy in — if you lose your job you would be automatically be able to buy in to his plan. That means a lot of people can’t buy in, they can’t afford it,” he said.
“And under my approach, you would automatically be enrolled — that’s a big distinction. So I pointed out, ‘Hey if you’re making people buy in, that’s going to leave people uncovered’ He denied saying buy-in, but if you look at the transcript, he actually said it,” he added.
Here is the exchange between Biden and Castro, according to the transcript (emphasis added):
BIDEN: Fifteen seconds. Look, everybody says we want an option. The option I’m proposing is Medicare for all — Medicare for choice. If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance — from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don’t have — no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in. You get covered, period.
BIDEN: I know a lot about cancer, let me tell you something. It’s personal to me. Let me tell you something. Every single person who is diagnosed with cancer or any other disease can automatically become part of this plan. They will not go bankrupt because of that. They will not go bankrupt because of that. They can join immediately.
And we’re talking four, six, eight, ten years, depending on who you talk about, before we get to Medicare for all. Come on. I’ve been there. You’ve been there. You know what it’s like. People need help now, hope now, and do something now.
CASTRO: Thank you. And, you know, I also want to recognize the work that Bernie has done on this. And, of course, we owe a debt of gratitude to President Barack Obama. Of course, I also worked for President Obama, Vice President Biden, and I know that the problem with your plan is that it leaves 10 million people uncovered.
Now, on the last debate stage in Detroit, you said that wasn’t true, when Senator Harris brought that up. There was a fact check of that, and they said that was true.
You know, I grew up with a grandmother who had type 2 diabetes, and I watched her condition get worse and worse. But that whole time, she had Medicare. I want every single American family to have a strong Medicare plan available.
If they choose to hold on to strong, solid private health insurance, I believe they should be able to do. But the difference between what I support and what you support, Vice President Biden, is that you require them to opt in and I would not require them to opt in. They would automatically be enrolled. They wouldn’t have a buy in.
That’s a big difference, because Barack Obama’s vision was not to leave 10 million people uncovered. He wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that. Your plan would not.
BIDEN: They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.
CASTRO: You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago. You just two minutes ago that they would have to buy in.
BIDEN: Do not have to buy in if you can’t afford it.
CASTRO: You said they would have to buy in.
BIDEN: Your grandmother would not have to buy in. If she qualifies for Medicaid, she would automatically be enrolled.
CASTRO: Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that.
BIDEN: I said anyone like your grandmother who has no money.
CASTRO: I mean, look, look, we need a health care system…
BIDEN: She — you’re automatically enrolled.
CASTRO: It automatically enrolls people regardless of whether they choose to opt in or not. If you lose your job, for instance, his health care plan would not automatically enroll you. You would have to opt in. My health care plan would. That’s a big difference. I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not.
BIDEN: That’ll be a surprise to him.