Local politicians and hospital workers protest the imminent closure of Hahnemann University Hospital at a rally outside the Center City facilities in Philadelphia on July 11, 2019. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
As Joe Biden continued his misleading attacks on single-payer during an AARP forum in Iowa on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign circulated a chart highlighting the sharp and deeply consequential differences between the former vice president’s newly unveiled healthcare plan and Medicare for All.
While Medicare for All would provide “health coverage to everyone,” the chart says, Biden’s plan to bolster the Affordable Care Act and add a public option would leave “nearly 10 million people uninsured” and hit tens of millions more with “high co-pays and deductibles that will leave too many people at the mercy of insurers and drug companies.”
“Biden’s plan would preserve a broken system,” said the Sanders campaign. “According to a recent survey, as many as one in four adults go without insurance at some point in a given year. That’s fifty million people. By age 50, the average worker has held 12 jobs. Under Biden’s plan, this broken and fractured system would be maintained.”
“The difference is thousands of lives,” tweeted Jacobin magazine founder Bhaskar Sunkara in response to the chart.
As Common Dreams reported on Monday, Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project estimated that Biden’s healthcare plan would lead to the deaths of 125,000 people in the first decade by leaving millions uninsured.
The Sanders campaign’s chart, sent to the press late Monday, came after Biden told an audience of around 200 Iowa seniors that, under Medicare for All, “Medicare as you know it goes away”—a line that quickly drew comparisons to President Donald Trump’s claim last year that Medicare for All would lead to “Medicare for none.”
Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, slammed Biden’s attack on Medicare for All in a statement late Monday.
“He needlessly scared seniors today by telling them that Medicare for All would mean ‘Medicare as you know it goes away,'” said Lawson. “In fact, Medicare for All would greatly improve the program for current beneficiaries.”
In a video posted on Twitter Monday night, Sanders highlighted Iowa seniors’ lukewarm response after Biden asked whether they liked their private insurance providers before they retired.
Sanders, the lead Senate sponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019, contrasted the seniors’ response to Biden with the enthusiastic applause Medicare for All received during the Vermont senator’s Fox News town hall in April.
“At the end of the day,” Sanders tweeted, “you’ve either got to be on the side of the people or the side of the health insurance companies. I know which side I’m on.”
July 15, 2019byCommon Dreams
‘Not Acceptable’: Analysis Estimates Biden Healthcare Plan Would Kill 125,000 People in First Decade Alone
As Biden vows to “do everything in my power” to defend system based on for-profit insurance industry, People’s Policy Project shows death toll would be equivalent “of 42 September 11-style attacks”byJake Johnson, staff writer
Former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, gives a speech on his foreign policy plan on July 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
After spending the past week sniping at Medicare for All with insurance industry talking points, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Monday unveiled a healthcare plan that one analyst said could cause the deaths of around 125,000 people over the first ten years by leaving millions of Americans uninsured.
“Number of Americans who would die due to the lack of health insurance under Medicare for All: zero. We don’t need Medicare for some. We need Medicare for All.”
—Warren Gunnels, staff director for Sen. Bernie Sanders
Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People’s Policy Project, pointed to Biden’s claimthat his plan will provide health insurance to 97 percent of Americans and calculated the death toll of leaving three percent of the U.S. population without coverage.
“Even if you suppose that Biden’s estimate is right and the uninsurance rate does go to three percent, that still implies an enormous amount of unnecessary death caused by a lack of insurance,” Bruenig said. “One commonly-used (e.g. by CAP) estimate states that one unnecessary death occurs annually for every 830 uninsured people. This means that during the first 10 years of Bidencare, over 125,000 unnecessary deaths will occur from uninsurance.”
Putting the numbers in more stark terms, Bruenig said the death toll from Biden’s healthcare plan would be “equivalent to the death toll of 42 September 11-style attacks.”
“Needless to say, this is not acceptable,” added Bruenig. “No Democrat should be running on a health plan that does not provide universal coverage.”
The body count of 3 percent uninsurance is staggering. https://t.co/xfyDnAjaUz
— Matt Bruenig (@MattBruenig) July 15, 2019
Warren Gunnels, staff director for Sen. Bernie Sanders, also a contender for the Democratic ticket, contrasted the estimated death toll of Biden’s plan with that of a Medicare for All system, which would provide comprehensive insurance to the entire U.S. population.
“Number of Americans who will die due to the lack of health insurance under Biden: An estimated 125,000 over ten years,” Gunnels tweeted. “Number of Americans who would die due to the lack of health insurance under Medicare for All: zero. We don’t need Medicare for some. We need Medicare for All.”
Biden’s proposal, outlined on his 2020 campaign website Monday, would create a public option and expand subsidies to help more Americans purchase private insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
In a video accompanying his plan, Biden continued his disingenuous attacks on Medicare for All and vowed to “do everything in [his] power” to preserve the private insurance industry and build on Obamacare:
In what appeared to be a response to Biden’s claim that Medicare for All proponents support “getting rid of Obamacare,” Sanders highlighted former President Barack Obama’s praise of Medicare for All as a “good new idea.”
“I fought to improve and pass Obamacare,” tweeted Sanders. “I traveled all over the country to fight the repeal of Obamacare. But I will not be deterred from ending the corporate greed that creates dysfunction in our healthcare system.”
“We must pass Medicare for All,” Sanders said.