“What I’m going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option,” Biden said. It will “become Bidencare.”
“The Bidencare proposal will, in fact, provide for that affordable health care, lower premiums,” he said a few minutes later.
It was the first time Biden has been heard to use the term publicly – and striking he chose to use it on the debate stage.
For one thing, the battles over Obamacare – and President Clinton’s “Hillarycare” attempt way before that – have well illustrated the political risks of getting one’s name entangled with a health reform effort.
The Obama administration eventually embraced the term Obamacare, but it was only after realizing that attempts to quash the name invented by Republicans were fruitless.
Doug Andres, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Biden has spent far more time berating the Trump administration for its pandemic response and unpopular stance on the 2010 health-care law.
It’s been a relatively easy task, considering Americans are in the midst of a pandemic that has hit their country harder than nearly every other developed nation. The first thirty minutes of the debate – marked by a return to civility compared with the September debate – did feature an extended back and forth between Trump and Biden over what the national response should look like.
But later on in the evening, the candidates also tangled over a topic that was vigorously debated during the Democratic primaries but virtually ignored in the general election: how to improve the nation’s porous and insufficient health insurance offerings.
Trump insisted that Biden wanted “socialized medicine.” Biden reminded Trump the primary proves he does not.
Biden’s former opponents Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) – and even, on occasion, Biden’s now-running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) – blasted Biden for supporting the system of private health insurance which is still responsible for covering more than half of all Americans.
Biden positioned himself as a moderate on the issue, and stuck fast to it, refusing to back dramatic and sweeping proposals to replace private coverage with a government-run “Medicare-for-all” plan for all Americans. Instead he supports an incremental approach of adding a public option to the marketplaces, which people could choose to purchase.
That didn’t stop the president from trying cast his plan as socialist and falsely claiming it would strip 180 million Americans of their employer-sponsored coverage. “He wants socialized medicine,” Trump said. “Bernie Sanders wants it. The Democrats want it. You’re going to have socialized medicine.”
“He’s very confused,” Biden shot back. “He thinks he’s running against somebody else. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.”
“The idea that I want to eliminate private insurance – the reason why I had such a fight with 20 candidates for the nomination – was I support private insurance,” Biden added.
A public option is just one of several proposals Biden’s campaign has laid out on health policy. They include increasing the ACA’s marketplace subsidies, allowing