Although many 2020 candidates openly support Medicare for All, very few have been willing to admit that middle-class taxes would likely go up to fund the $32.6 trillion program. Most notably, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced during the debate that she favors abolishing private insurance to embrace Medicare for All fully, but she refused to say she would increase middle-class taxes on American workers.
Biden — who has been feuding with Harris since she leveled him in the first debate — said the senator was living in a “fantasy world” if she thought she would have to raise taxes on the majority of Americans to foot the bill for the program.
“I find the people that say they’re for Medicare for All, but they’re not going to tax the middle class because you don’t need to do that. Come on. I mean, what is this, a fantasy world here?” Biden said.
During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sanders was asked if he agreed with Biden’s summary. He told host Jake Tapper that he knows middle-class taxes will go up, but maintained that the American people could still end up saving money on the other side.
Watch Sanders’ remarks:
“The first thing that we have to understand is, under Medicare for all, similar to what Canada has, people are not gonna pay any premiums. They’re not gonna pay any deductibles. They’re not going to pay any co-payments. So if you call a premium a tax, we’re getting rid of that. But I do believe that, in a progressive way, people will have to pay taxes. The wealthy will obviously pay the lion’s share of the taxes, but at the end of the day, the vast majority of the American people will pay substantially less for the health care they now receive because we’re going to do away with hundreds of billion dollars of administrative waste. We’re gonna do away with the incredible profiteering of the insurance companies and the drug companies. People will be paying, in some cases, more in taxes, but overall, because they’re not gonna pay premiums or deductibles, co-payments, they’ll be paying less for their health care.”
When pushed by Tapper as to whether he agrees with Biden, Sanders conceded that the former vice president is correct about the increase in taxes.
“Obviously, health care is not free,” Sanders said.
As IJR previously reported, Biden does not support Medicare for All. Instead, he supports a reboot of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.