clearn.png
Tuesday September 17th, 2019 9:01PM

Joe Biden draws line against progressives on health care

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Joe Biden is taking an aggressive approach to defending the Affordable Care Act, challenging not just President Donald Trump but also some of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination who want to replace the current insurance system with a fully government-run model.

The former vice president has spent the past several weeks highlighting his support for the health care law often called "Obamacare." He told voters in Iowa that he was "against any Republican (and) any Democrat who wants to scrap" the law. He's also talked of "building on" Obamacare.

He released a proposal Monday to add a "public option" to the 2010 health care overhaul, with expanded coverage paid for by tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. Returning to Iowa, he touted the public option as "the quickest ... most rational way to get universal coverage." A sudden transition to "Medicare for All," he said, "is kind of risky."

Biden hopes his positioning as Obamacare's chief defender will remind voters of his work alongside former President Barack Obama, who remains popular among Democrats. And it could reinforce his pitch as a sensible centrist promising to rise above the strident cacophony of Trump and more liberal Democrats who are single-payer advocates.

The emerging divide between Biden and his progressive rivals could allow him to go on offense ahead of the next debates at the end of the month. Biden spent recent weeks on defense, reversing his position on taxpayer funding for abortions and highlighting his long-ago relationships with segregationist senators. During the first debates, Sen. Kamala Harris of California slammed Biden for his Senate recollections and his opposition to federal busing orders to desegregate public schools during the same era.

Those episodes called Biden's front-runner status into question, and it was clear over the weekend that he wanted to turn the tables on his rivals backing Medicare for All.

"I think one of the most significant things we've done in our administration is pass the Affordable Care Act," Biden said in New Hampshire. "I don't know why we'd get rid of what in fact was working and move to something totally new."

He argued that his 2020 opponents, with the exception of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, aren't fairly representing the consequences of their proposals.

"Bernie's been very honest about it," Biden said. "He said you're going to have to raise taxes on the middle class. He said it's going to end all private insurance. I mean, he's been straightforward about it. And he's making his case."

Sanders will deliver a health care speech Wednesday and is already hitting back at Biden. The senator insists his plan would be a net financial benefit for most households by eliminating their insurance and co-pay costs, even if their taxes go up. And he rejects any suggestion that he hasn't supported the Affordable Care Act.

"I traveled all over the country to fight the repeal of Obamacare," Sanders tweeted Monday. "But I will not be deterred from ending the corporate greed that creates dysfunction in our health care system. We must pass Medicare for All."

Speaking at an AARP forum in Iowa on Monday, Biden took pains to say he wasn't criticizing rivals. "I'm about what I'm for, not what they're for," he said. "I'm not in that game because that just elects Donald Trump."

Biden's health care proposal is anchored by a "Medicare-like" plan that any American, including the 150 million-plus Americans now covered by job-based insurance, could buy on Affordable Care Act exchanges.

The proposal would make existing premium subsidies more generous and expand eligibility for middle-income households, lowering their out-of-pocket costs. It also would extend premium-free coverage to lower-income Americans who have been denied access to Medicaid in Republican-run states that refused to participate in the Affordable Care Act.

The campaign puts the taxpayer cost at $750 billion over 10 years, which would be covered by returning the top marginal income tax to 39.6%, the rate before the 2017 GOP tax cuts . Some multimillionaires also would lose certain capital gains tax advantages.

Biden's aides framed his plan as more fiscally responsible and politically realistic than a single-payer overhaul. The idea behind a public option is to extend coverage to those who can't afford decent private coverage while forcing corporate insurers to compete alongside the government, theoretically pressuring those firms to lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs for their customers.

The former vice president did perhaps lay for himself a future trap as he drew distinctions with proposals that would gut private insurance. "I'd like to get people the option: If you like your health care plan, or your employer-based plan, you can keep it," Biden said. "If in fact you have private insurance, you can keep it."

It was reminiscent, at least rhetorically, of Obama promising during the 2009-10 debate: "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

Indeed, the law did not directly force patients away from their doctors. But regulatory changes did lead insurers to change or cancel certain policies, even if they had to offer consumers new options; and health care providers left certain networks without consumers having a say.

At the least, the 2020 campaign dynamics illustrate Democrats' overall leftward shift on health care.

A decade ago, the public option was the left flank for Democrats, a reality made obvious when Obama angered House liberals by jettisoning the provision to mollify Senate centrists. Now, after Sanders' insurgent 2016 presidential bid and his promise of "health care as a human right," the left embraces single-payer, with moderates moving to the public option.

Some Democratic presidential hopefuls echo Biden's approach, with a handful of them sounding alarms about moving too far left and allowing Republicans to reclaim the health care advantage Democrats enjoyed in the 2018 midterms.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who's pushed a public option on Capitol Hill already, urged Sanders, Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren to rethink their approach, which he warned would put Democrats in peril in 2020, even in his increasingly liberal home state.

Citing Medicare for All, Bennet declared, "I think that Colorado would be at risk if Bernie Sanders were the nominee."

___

Barrow reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writer Alexandra Jaffe contributed from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

___

Follow the reporters on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP and https://twitter.com/TomBeaumont .

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Health, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Business, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns, AP Business - Financial Markets, AP Business - Personal Finance
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Joe Biden draws line against progressives on health care
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is running as the defender of 'Obamacare' and is promising to expand it
1:16PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Linebacker Morgan retires after 9 NFL seasons with Titans
Tennessee defensive lineman Derrick Morgan retiring after playing nine NFL seasons for five head coaches
1:05PM ( 19 minutes ago )
EU works to save unraveling nuclear agreement with Iran
European Union nations were throwing their diplomatic weight behind the unraveling Iran nuclear deal and tried to rescue the pact from collapsing under U.S. pressure
1:03PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Kasich says Trump tweets are 'deplorable'
An unsuccessful contender against Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination says Trump's tweets telling Democratic congresswomen of color to "go back" to their countries is "deplorable and beneath the dignity of the office."
12:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pentagon to get unprecedented 3rd acting chief this year.
After months of delay, President Donald Trump is expected today to nominate a successor to Jim Mattis as secretary of defense
12:04PM ( 1 hour ago )
Democratic money jitters ease after big second quarter haul
A show of fundraising force by top Democratic White House hopefuls in the second quarter has eased worries that the party would struggle to stockpile cash for the general election fight with President Donald Trump
11:56AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
After years of plenty, auto workers want a bigger slice
With auto boom years tailing off, clash between Detroit's Big Three and workers may be taking shape
12:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ugandan singer Bobi Wine plans to run for president in 2021
Bobi Wine, Uganda's pop star-turned-opposition leader, says he will challenge longtime President Yoweri Museveni in polls set for 2021
10:06AM ( 3 hours ago )
In Buttigieg and Biden, Dems confront generational divide
Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend Mayor, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg represent the generational poles of the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary
8:21AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Elections
In Biden and Buttigieg, Dems confront generational divide
Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg represent the generational poles of the crowded Democratic presidential primary
12:59AM ( 12 hours ago )
Biden campaigns as Obamacare's top defender
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is running as the defender of Obamacare and promising to expand the 2010 health care measure.
9:51PM ( 15 hours ago )
Beto O'Rourke says he had relative who owned slaves
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke says he was recently given documents showing that both he and his wife are descended from people who owned slaves.
9:32PM ( 15 hours ago )
General Election News
Biden aggressively defending law known as 'Obamacare'
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is running as the defender of Obamacare and promising to expand the 2010 health care measure.
1:08AM ( 12 hours ago )
Paul Ryan's public support of Trump masked GOP struggle
A new book says former House Speaker Paul Ryan decided to leave Washington rather than endure two more years of Donald Trump's presidency
6:41PM ( 2 days ago )
Who's behind voting-machine makers? Money of unclear origins
North Carolina election officials are learning that private equity firms which don't disclose whose money they're investing hold major stakes in voting-machine makers
3:34PM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
The Latest: 2 accusers speak at Epstein bail hearing
Two of Jeffrey Epstein's accusers have spoken at his bail hearing; the judge says he'll announce his decision Thursday
12:36PM ( 48 minutes ago )
Oklahoma AG calls company 'kingpin' in state's opioid crisis
Closing arguments are scheduled to begin in Oklahoma's case against Johnson & Johnson alleging the consumer products giant and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state's opioid crisis
12:30PM ( 54 minutes ago )
China's economy growth cools further amid US tariff war
China's economic growth fall to 26-year low, adding to pressure on Chinese leaders in tariff fight with Trump
12:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Biden promises to end 'forever wars' as president
Joe Biden is promising that his White House would end "forever wars" and reassert American leadership to combat authoritarianism and global instability, which he says are proliferating under President Donald Trump
4:43PM ( 3 days ago )
Tom Steyer launches 2020 campaign after saying he wouldn't
Reversing course, billionaire investor and activist Tom Steyer decides to launch Democratic presidential bid after all
9:42PM ( 5 days ago )
Warren raises $19.1M, topping Sanders in new fundraising
Elizabeth Warren has raised $19.1 million in the second quarter, cementing her status in the top tier of Democratic presidential candidates and as a leading voice of the party's liberal base
7:30PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
As Dems debate busing, southern schools slowly desegregate
As Democratic presidential candidates debate the federal government's role racially integrating public schools, federal intervention and court-ordered desegregation live on in one Mississippi Delta town
6:31PM ( 3 days ago )
Desegregation remains an issue in many US schools
As Democratic presidential candidates debate the federal government's role racially integrating public schools, federal intervention and court-ordered desegregation live on in one Mississippi Delta town
12:25PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Interview: Buttigieg discusses his plan to tackle racism
AP Interview: Mayor Pete Buttigieg unveils his plan named for Frederick Douglass and offers a message for white liberals who decry racism: 'Good intentions are not going to be enough'
11:23AM ( 4 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Linebacker Morgan retires after 9 NFL seasons with Titans
Tennessee defensive lineman Derrick Morgan retiring after playing nine NFL seasons for five head coaches
1:05PM ( 19 minutes ago )
EU works to save unraveling nuclear agreement with Iran
European Union nations were throwing their diplomatic weight behind the unraveling Iran nuclear deal and tried to rescue the pact from collapsing under U.S. pressure
1:03PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Weakened Barry unleashes a final blast of torrential rains
Though Tropical Depression Barry failed to unleash catastrophic flooding in New Orleans, it still swamped parts of Louisiana with up to 17 inches of rain and transformed part of the Mississippi Delta into what the state's governor described as "an ocean"
1:00PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Stocks edge lower as bank losses offset technology gains
Stocks edged lower in midday trading as a slide from major banks offset solid technology sector gains
12:54PM ( 30 minutes ago )
NYC mayor, running for president, on defense after blackout
New York's mayor is fending off criticism for being in Iowa campaigning for president while Manhattan was in the grips of a major power outage
12:50PM ( 33 minutes ago )