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Higginbotham writes: "Joe Biden keeps lying about Medicare for All and won't stop anytime soon - he has to, to sell his own Bidencare plan. But Medicare for All will always win on the merits."

Joe Biden pauses as he speaks during the AARP and Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum at Drake University on July 15, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty)
Joe Biden pauses as he speaks during the AARP and Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum at Drake University on July 15, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty)


The 5 Biggest Lies Joe Biden Is Telling About Medicare for All

By Tim Higginbotham, Jacobin

19 July 19


Joe Biden keeps lying about Medicare for All and won’t stop anytime soon — he has to, to sell his own Bidencare plan. But Medicare for All will always win on the merits.

ver since Joe Biden kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign by attending a big-dollar fundraiser with a major health insurance CEO, it was clear that he would define his health care platform in direct opposition to Medicare for All. The release of his underwhelming BidenCare plan brings no surprises on that front.

Rather than highlighting his plan’s policy specifics, Biden is spending the week of its launch attacking Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All bill. Parroting insurance industry talking points, Biden told a number of lies about the single-payer proposal in a campaign speech and in his BidenCare announcement video: he claimed Medicare for All will throw millions off of their insurance, scrap Obamacare, end Medicare as we know it, cause a hiatus in coverage, and cost more than his own plan.

In response, Sanders’s campaign added a short quiz to their website asking visitors to attribute lies about Medicare for All to either Biden, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, or United Health CEO David Wichmann. (It’s a tough quiz. I follow these things closely and only scored four out of six.)

With their shared lies, Biden, Trump, and McConnell are operating directly out of the insurance industry’s playbook. Remarkably, over the last few years, Medicare for All has grown from a fringe idea to a mainstream demand supported by a heavy majority of voters. Its opponents understand that the more people learn about what Medicare for All truly means the more popular it becomes. Should the public gain a wide understanding of its benefits, other plans won’t be able to stack up.

Biden’s plan, for example, looks foolish in comparison. It will keep employees’ insurance at the mercy of their employers, leave ten million uninsured and tens of millions underinsured, and maintain prohibitive out-of-pocket costs while preserving a fundamentally broken system. Medicare for All, on the other hand, will solve all of these problems by implementing a single, public program that guarantees comprehensive care to everyone, free at the point of service, from the cradle to the grave.

Simply put: Medicare for All is so good that Biden has no choice but to lie about it.

Let’s examine some of his most recent lies with a Glenn Kessler-style Pinocchio rating system.

Biden’s lie: “Medicare goes away as you know it. All the Medicare you have is GONE.”

Verdict: 100 Pinocchios

This is Biden’s boldest and most duplicitous lie. It’s also one that comes straight from a Donald Trump op-ed. Medicare for All, as its name suggests, will not eliminate Medicare but rather expand it to every US resident. The only parts of the program that will go away are the private supplemental plans seniors are currently forced to buy.

Medicare for All will instead make the public plan comprehensive by adding dental care, hearing aids, vision care, and more to its list of covered items — and it will do this while eliminating all co-pays, premiums, and deductibles. BidenCare, on the other hand, will continue denying seniors needed coverage and charging them for care.

Biden’s lie: “How many of you out there have had someone you’ve lost to cancer? Or cancer yourself? No time… We cannot have a hiatus of six months, a year, two, three, to get something done.”

Verdict: Really confusing. 80 Pinocchios

Biden is of course correct that we cannot have a hiatus of six months to three years during which cancer patients are unable to receive care. Fortunately, there will be no such hiatus with Medicare for All. Biden is pulling this idea out of thin air. (Also, does anybody really think that Bernie is pushing for a health care system that would suspend all cancer treatment? Biden might as well accuse Sanders of proposing Medicare for All death panels.)

Sanders’s Medicare for All bill has a four-year transition period during which nobody will lose coverage. The transition will add new age groups to Medicare until every US resident is on the program in the fourth year, and it will create a public option (far more generous than Biden’s) that people can join in the meantime. The program’s list of covered items will expand in the very first year, ensuring that from the get-go people will have far better coverage than they ever would under BidenCare.

Biden’s lie: “How many of you like your employer based healthcare? Do you think it was adequate? Now if I come along and say you’re finished, you can’t have it anymore, well that’s what Medicare for All does. You cannot have it. Period.”

Verdict: Technically true, but very deceptive. 20 Pinocchios.

Everyone should watch the video in which Biden says this. When he asks if they liked their employer-sponsored care, about ten people in a very crowded audience raised their hand. This is, of course, because nobody has fond feelings toward their private insurer, and most seniors (it was an AARP crowd) are happy to finally be on Medicare.

Biden is attempting to convince you that Medicare for All will rip millions of people from their beloved private plans, causing untold disruption. It’s very similar to recent arguments made by Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell.

These arguments are absurd. In reality, Medicare for All will introduce real stability by guaranteeing lifelong public insurance to everyone, ensuring that nobody loses coverage ever again. It will rescue people from a system in which employers dictate their employees’ coverage.

Having health care tethered to employment is an extremely volatile arrangement — as Matt Bruenig notes, one in four people on employer-sponsored plans are thrown off their insurance each year. Biden is technically correct that people won’t be able to have employer-sponsored insurance once Medicare for All is won — but the truth is that’s a very good thing.

Biden’s lie: “I understand the appeal of Medicare for All. But folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare, and I’m not for that.”

Verdict: 50 Pinocchios

Obamacare did a couple of very good things: it expanded Medicaid eligibility to millions more people and improved coverage by mandating a set of essential benefits. Medicare for All doesn’t do away with either of these things. In fact, it improves upon them by bringing the entire country into a public insurance program that fully covers all medically necessary care.

Biden might as well be warning that winning a beautiful new car will mean getting rid of your busted ‘95 Taurus. Medicare for All is superior to Obamacare in every way. It will cover everyone, eliminate out-of-pocket costs, put an end to the phenomenon of “Medicaid envy” (where people on the wrong side of an arbitrary income cutoff lose eligibility for Medicaid), and give patients total freedom of choice in doctor and hospital.

If anyone loves Obamacare, it’s because it gave them some small monetary reprieve or coverage that they lacked before. Medicare for All will help them even further by erasing all out-of-pocket costs and giving everyone comprehensive coverage.

Medicare for All doesn’t “get rid of” Obamacare; it replaces it with a far better system.

Biden’s lie: BidenCare is “the best way to lower costs and cover everyone.”

Verdict: 200 Pinocchios

This gets 200 Pinocchios because it’s actually two lies: that BidenCare is the best way to lower costs, and that it’s the best way to cover everyone.

The latter is Biden’s funniest lie because it directly contradicts the details of his own plan. While every other Democrat is running on support for universal health care, Biden makes clear right on his website that his plan will only cover 97 percent of Americans.

Assuming that number is correct, nearly ten million people will remain uninsured and 125,000 will die due to lack of insurance in the first ten years. It’s therefore a little audacious to say the plan will cover everyone.

BidenCare will lower costs somewhat for patients. It caps an employee’s premiums at 8.5 percent rather than 9.86 percent, while also making more people eligible for gold plans, meaning lower deductibles. But it’s important to understand that under BidenCare, people will continue to be saddled with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs and regularly drained by expensive premiums. Only Medicare for All will get rid of these costs.

In terms of overall health care spending, BidenCare will cost $750 billion over a decade. This is on top of current spending, which is projected at $42.9 billion over the next ten years. Medicare for All will cost trillions less.

Biden is going to keep lying about Medicare for All — he has to in order to sell his own plan. But Medicare for All will always win on the merits, and supporters should correct the lies being spread about it whenever they encounter them. Sanders is doing his part by tirelessly advocating for his bill and confronting Biden’s lies head on, but he cannot take this fight on alone.

Every Medicare for All supporter should stand up and join the conversation. There are too many lives at stake — not to mention too many Pinocchios — not to.

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+47 # DongiC 2019-07-19 13:03
Biden is a pathetic tool of the rich. He protects the Insurance industry and the pharmaceuticals to the detriment of the lower classes. We don't need anymore Democratic leaders like him. VOTE SANDERS AND WARREN.
 
 
+48 # Colleen Clark 2019-07-19 14:20
We don't need "Bidencare." We need Medicare for all.
 
 
-15 # tarantilla 2019-07-19 14:41
While people may sign up for m-care, doctors and hospitals don’t have to. If the reimbursement is too low providers can opt to take cash and/or private insurance. The famous hospitals may survive through private donations or becoming private institutions with membership. M-care for all may mean no care or poor care for most people. Reimbursements can be maintained only if money into m-care is sufficient (for 100,000,000 people) to maintain payouts sufficient to support the current system of health care.
 
 
+1 # GreenBee 2019-07-21 06:23
If everyone is on Med4All hospitals and doctors will not have enough patients if they refuse to take it. You can't run hospitals serving only the 1%. Doctors will have similar problems although many cash buyers would exist for their fees.

If your argument were valid the scenario you describe would be happening in other countries with universal public coverage. Is it happening? I believe that Med$All would actually outlaw private medical insurance.

Your argument falls in the same lot with the argument against socialism in general That being: "People would lose the incentive to work and innovate." While at first glance it's a plausible theory, but if true the GDPs of socialist countries would be in decline. Research shows that has not happened and in Norway the GDP is much higher than ours.
 
 
-7 # futhark 2019-07-19 14:50
I am curious to know if there is an existing document that details the features of "Medicare for All", as this article seems to cite them as if they were part of a plan that has already been worked out, rather than a general concept of universal medical insurance.

As a person who has been on Medicare for almost 5 years now, I have been hoping that the universal medical insurance we hope to enjoy in the not too distant future will not rely too heavily on the present Medicare system, as I have found that to be in many ways confusing and in need of supplementation with private plans.
 
 
+1 # alanl 2019-07-21 12:57
[quote name="futhark"] I am curious to know if there is an existing document that details the features of "Medicare for All", as this article seems to cite them as if they were part of a plan that has already been worked out, rather than a general concept of universal medical insurance.

Yes, HR 1394 and S 1129 are the proposed bills. You can find explanations discussing pros and cons of each at HealthOverProfi t.org and Physicians for a National Health Programs PNHP.org.
 
 
+1 # alanl 2019-07-21 13:02
Without committing to a public health system as Canada did and taking on doctors’ salaries, I don’t understand how Medicare for All can be affordable. Please explain.

Visit Health Over Profits and Physicians for a National Health Program. Both have a wealth of research based information.
 
 
+18 # susanlno 2019-07-19 15:09
Biden also uses the common right-wing ("centrist") Democratic ploy of deliberately conflating health insurance with health care, in this case by saying that people love the insurance they have now. We don't. We love the DOCTORS we have now and don't want to be forced to change doctors at an insurance company's whim.
 
 
+16 # Citizen Mike 2019-07-19 16:14
This is why he will not be nominated, he supports the insurance gangsters who are extorting us by threatening our lives.
 
 
+1 # lorenbliss 2019-07-19 16:28
Speaking yesterday with a very bright, exceptionally articulate but nevertheless non-voting Millennial, I asked why.

Here is the answer I got:

"Because the one thing we know for sure is that all politicians are liars," the Millennial said.

"And with all the media turned to propaganda, there's no way to distinguish between the politicians' lies and what might be actually true."

Since my 21st birthday, which was in 1961, I make a point of always voting.

But -- sadly -- I could offer the millennial no effective rebuttal. How can one decide for whom to vote when -- as is essential under Capitalism -- every politician is a practiced liar?

So ends the nation, drowning in the fatal miasma of its own dishonesty and hatred.
 
 
+9 # kate@kseley.jazztel.es 2019-07-20 11:04
Yes but “liar” is relative-20 to 40 misleading statements plus maybe a few whoppers a year by the worst Dems versus 10,000 in 2 years. I’ve talked to a few millennials and post millennials like that. They’re too young to have firsthand knowledge. One recently said to me, “But all American presidents have been bastards. Even FDR- look at the Japanese internment camps.. it’s true that all presidents have done a few uncharacteristi cally bad things but they can’t be equated with this unnamable being who presently inhabits the WH. Sanders and Warren both highly admire FDR. Think they need to give their young potential voters a little history lesson. Liz certainly has the teaching skills and Bernie the communication skills to do it.
 
 
-2 # JCM 2019-07-20 14:18
Would you vote for the Democratic Candidate regardless of who wins the nomination?
 
 
+4 # alanl 2019-07-21 13:06
Visit these sites:
Health Over Profit . org
Physicians for a National Health Program

Both sites have a wealth of well researched information. Physicians for a National Health Program, in particular, have information of interest to medical professionals.
 
 
+9 # kate@kseley.jazztel.es 2019-07-19 17:09
I’ve spent 40 years living and working in Spain, which has a whole public health system, with big state-of- the-art hospitals, nearer specialization clinics and local clinics with gps and nurses (who in my experience really care). The U.K. & France have this system as do other European countries. Canada opted for this kind of system, too, knowing it to be a trade off in terms of waiting time for non crucial interventions or appointments but that it was worth it in terms of peace of mind. Those in the upper 30 or 35% percent- just barely upper middle class- tend to have HMOs where waits are shorter and dental included. (Mental health is included & excellently in the public health system) People who have HMOs tend to use them for non critical interventions.. But for cancer, heart or critical accidents everyone knows that public health hospitals are where you go.

But crucial difference (and the elephant in the room) is DOCTORS’ SALARIES.. Doctors here are basically civil servants, well paid but not rich. The only exception are those with more capricious specialties, like cosmetic surgeons for beautifying, dermatologists who specialize in Botox, in fact, some public health moonlight at the HMO’s an evening a week to earn a bit more and have an upper middle class life style. And bureaucracy is much simpler.

Without committing to a public health system as Canada did and taking on doctors’ salaries, I don’t understand how Medicare for All can be affordable. Please explain.
 
 
+3 # JCM 2019-07-20 14:16
kate@kseley.jazztel.es: This is one article that gives a balanced view of doctors salaries after Medicare for All would be instituted. https://www.salon.com/2019/07/14/this-is-what-doctor-visits-would-look-like-under-medicare-for-all/
 
 
+10 # dsfingers 2019-07-19 17:40
So much for the Democratic establishment who are in the pocket of the “healthcare” industry. I personally am for single payer or Medicare fo all in principle but not entirely clear how it is paid for exactly. We need to see more discussion of this. I believe that ONLY when the American voters understand how it affects their personal and the country’s economic status overall will they come to fully support it and see through the Marketing and political brainwashing BS. Well at least those who still have some ability to step out of the preconceptions.
 
 
+1 # SenorN 2019-07-19 23:18
This article says BidenCare would cost $792.9 billion over 10 years and that "Medicare for All would cost trillions less."
You don't need a math degree to see that there's something very wrong with the numbers in those two statements!
 
 
0 # bandonval 2019-07-22 18:06
Quoting SenorN:
This article says BidenCare would cost $792.9 billion over 10 years and that "Medicare for All would cost trillions less."
You don't need a math degree to see that there's something very wrong with the numbers in those two statements!


In terms of overall health care spending, BidenCare will cost $750 billion over a decade. This is on top of current spending, which is projected at $42.9 billion over the next ten years. Medicare for All will cost trillions less.
 
 
-2 # Robbee 2019-07-20 10:22
The 5 Biggest Lies Joe Biden Is Telling About Medicare for All
19 July 19

- TO MAKE HIS CASE? when an industry shill has to LIE about the industry? - well? that's when you know that THE INDUSTRY STINKS!

Biden’s lie: “Medicare goes away as you know it. All the Medicare you have is GONE.”

Biden’s lie: “How many of you out there have had someone you’ve lost to cancer? Or cancer yourself? No time… We cannot have a hiatus of six months, a year, two, three, to get something done.”

Biden’s lie: “How many of you out there have had someone you’ve lost to cancer? Or cancer yourself? No time… We cannot have a hiatus of six months, a year, two, three, to get something done.”

Biden’s lie: “I understand the appeal of Medicare for All. But folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare, and I’m not for that.”

Biden’s lie: BidenCare is “the best way to lower costs and cover everyone.”

- believe me! proponents of medicare for all have to make our case in the dem debates!

next week we have only kamala? and tuls? to make our case? against corporate-bidde n biden?

can anyine on the stage with biden make the case?

to me, the best person to make our case seems pramila? - now is exactly when i wish that pramila was running for prez!

so much confusion!

we must find some way outta here!

did biden really say this shit?

biden speaks industry propaganda!

biden is bringing the industry fight to us!

who speaks for us? - speak now!
 
 
+3 # chapdrum 2019-07-21 21:16
On top of which: We're supposed to vote for a person who greased the skids for Clarence Thomas. The very last thing we need is (yet) another Blue Dog.
 
 
+3 # stevee19304@gmail.com 2019-07-21 23:13
HR 676, Medicare For All, has been in the house for years. Democrats don"t want to bring it up because they feel it will not pass in the Senate or will be vetoed by Trump
I don't know how it is to be funded. I have suggested taxes on tobacco, alcohol, candy bars, sodas, and other stuff we shouldn't consume too much of to help fund it.
Three sentences to support Medicare For ALL:
1. Health insurance companies are in
business to make money.
2. If they charge more, they get more.
3. If they deny more claims, they keep more.
 

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