By Audrey Conklin
2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had a firm response to fellow candidate Tim Ryan’s accusation that he “doesn’t know” what kinds of benefits Medicare for All would provide on Tuesday.
“Medicare for All is comprehensive and covers all health-care needs for senior citizens. It will finally include dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses,” Sanders said during the second round of Democratic presidential debates on CNN when asked about the specifics of how his universal health-care proposal would benefit union workers.
“You don’t know that, Bernie,” Ryan interrupted.
“I do know it. I wrote the damn bill,” Sanders quipped, earning applause from the audience.
“Many of our union brothers and sisters — nobody is more pro-union than me up here — are now paying high deductibles and co-payments, and when we do Medicare for All, instead of having the company putting money into health care, they can get descent wage increases which they are not getting today,” Sanders continued.
“Sen. Sanders does not know the union contracts in the United States,” Ryan responded. “I’m trying to explain that these union members are loosing their jobs. Their wages have been stagnant. The world is crumbling around them.”
“The only thing they have is possibly really good health care, and the Democratic message is going to be, ‘We’re going to go in, and the only thing you have left, we’re going to take and we’re going to do better.’ I do not think that’s a recipe for success for us. It’s bad policy, and it’s certainly bad politics,” Ryan continued.
Sanders later explained that “under Medicare for All, hospitals will save substantial sums of money because they [wouldn’t] be spending a fortune doing billing and the other bureaucratic things they have to do today.”
John Delaney then weighed in on the issue, saying of Sanders, “His math is wrong. That’s all I’m saying. His math is wrong. It’s been well documented if all the bills were paid at Medicare rate, then many hospitals in this country would close.”
“I’ve been going around rural America and ask rural hospital administrators one question, if all your bills were paid at the Medicare rate last year, what would happen? They all look at me and say, ‘We would close,’” Delaney continued.
Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced his universal health-care plan called “Medicare for All of 2017” in September 2017.
Sanders’ legislation states that “every individual who is a resident of the United States is entitled to benefits for health care services,” and “any individual entitled to benefits under [Medicare for All] may obtain health services from any institution, agency, or individual qualified to participate.”
Sanders has said that his health-care plan will require higher taxes on the middle class, but he claims those costs will cancel out because middle-class families will not have to pay out-of-pocket health-care costs.
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