Days of campaign back-and-forth over health care came to a head Thursday evening as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) released an outline for his universal, single payer plan hours before Sunday evening’s debate and once onstage, Clinton refined her attacks.
“I’m not sure whether we are talking about the plan you just introduced tonight or the plan you introduced nine times in Congress,” Clinton chided.
In the last week, the Clinton campaign had amped up its attack of Sanders’ plan, including its lack of detail. Sunday evening, Clinton shed some of the more blatant scare tactics that had brought her criticism and settled on one major point:
“The Democratic Party and the United States worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Care passed. We finally have a path to universal healthcare, we have accomplished so much already. I do not want to see the Republicans repeal it, and I don’t want to start over again with a contentious debate.”
Sanders called her assertions “nonsense” and argued that Obamacare had come up short in extending coverage for all and bringing down overall costs.
He also pivoted to criticism of the campaign finance system, which he said was allowing the pharmaceutical industry and private insurance industries to pour “hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign contributions and lobbying.”
“What this is really about is not the rational way to go forward. It’s medicare for all,” Sanders said. “It is whether we have the guts to stand up the private insurance companies and all of their money, and the pharmaceutical industry. That’s what this debate should be about.”