During Tuesday night's Democratic primary debate hosted by CNN, businessman and presidential candidate John Delaney called out fellow presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for his "Medicare for All" proposal, bluntly dubbing it "extreme" "bad policy" that would shut down hospitals, eliminate choices for the American people, and get President Donald Trump reelected.
CNN moderator Jake Tapper asked Sanders to respond to Delaney's diagnosis of his proposal. "You're wrong," the senator said, lamenting the "dysfunctional healthcare system" currently in place, stating that there are "30,000 people dying while the healthcare industry makes tens of billions of dollars."
"Listen, his math is wrong," Delaney said of Sanders. "It's been well-documented that if all the bills were paid at a Medicare rate, which is specifically — I think it's in section 1,200 of their bill — many hospitals in this country would close."
Sanders let out a laugh before Delaney noted that hospital administrators have told him that they would close their doors if all their bills were paid at the Medicare rate.
"But the question is, why do we have to be extreme?" Delaney asked. "I'm starting to think this isn't about heath care, this is about an anti-private sector strategy."
"We don't have to go around and be the party of subtraction," added Delaney, "telling half the country who have private health insurance that their insurance is illegal."
At the outset of the debate, Delaney called out Sanders and fellow presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for offering "bad policies like Medicare for All, free everything, and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump reelected."
Sanders' healthcare proposals are indeed radical. As noted by Axios' Sam Baker, the senator’s latest version of "Medicare for All" is "even more ambitious than his last one — which was already more ambitious than any other health care system on Earth."
The proposal "would move almost everyone — whether you're on Medicare or Medicaid, or buy insurance on your own through the Affordable Care Act, or get it through your job — into a single government-run program," Baker noted. "You could not keep your existing plan. You could keep your doctor. … Taxes would go up. A lot."