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Democrats tussle over political prospects of ‘Medicare for all’

The battle over “Medicare for all” arose again Wednesday night as Democratic candidates sparred over what kind of healthcare overhaul is practical and politically feasible.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., raised the issue unprompted, arguing that his policy of “Medicare for all who want it” would be “a governing strategy we can unify the American people around.”

Clashes and mockery come at the end of the Democratic debate in Atlanta. Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard face attacks and Joe Biden faces laughter.

It was an implicit swipe at his progressive rivals who are pushing a more expansive public healthcare system.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose support for Medicare for all has drawn fire from her more moderate opponents, played up her recently released plan, emphasizing that the massive overhaul she backs would not happen immediately.

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“Here is my plan: Let’s bring as many people in and bring as much help to American people as we can, as fast as we can,” Warren said.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the most ardent backer of government-run healthcare, jovially thanked the moderators for bringing him into the discussion, repeating his former debate quip: “I wrote the damn bill!”

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign stumbled as soon as she put out a ‘Medicare for all’ proposal. That explains her subsequent backpedal and the tricky political nature of healthcare

Sanders said that Medicare for all was politically viable because American voters “understand today the current healthcare system is not only cruel, it is dysfunctional.” He vowed to introduce a bill for single-payer healthcare within the first week of his presidency.

Former Vice President Joe Biden countered that such an action would run into political roadblocks, noting that Democrats in Congress remain reticent about the proposal.

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He touted his own plan to expand on the Affordable Care Act by including a public insurance option.

The American people “will get to choose,” Biden said. “I trust the American people to make a judgment in what’s in their interest.”

Drug companies, hospitals and conservative activists already have their knives out for Democrats’ proposals for universal healthcare.


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