There were fireworks on the debate stage Thursday night as the second round of Democratic candidates butted heads over the question of health care. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who supports Medicare-for-all, acknowledged in his opening remarks that the middle class would have to pay more for taxes under his plan, but also ultimately pay less for their health care.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet went after Sanders when it was his turn to talk, insisting that "I believe the way to do that is by finishing the work we started with Obamacare and creating a public option."
Spiritual self-help author Marianne Williamson said she agreed with Bennet, adding that "we have to get deeper than superficial fixes. Ladies and gentlemen, we don't have a health care system in the United States. We have a sickness care system in the United States."
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California Sen. Kamala Harris was the only other candidate on stage aside from Sanders who raised her hand to show that she would be willing to eliminate private insurance under a single-payer health care plan (in the first night, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio raised their hand for the same question). When asked specifically how Democrats might pay for health care, Harris ripped moderator Savannah Guthrie for the double standard: "Where was that question when the Republicans and Donald Trump passed a tax bill that benefits the top one percent and the biggest corporations in this country?" she asked in return.
Democrats did have one major moment of unity, with everyone on stage raising their hand in response to if their health care plan "would provide coverage for undocumented immigrants." In total, the health care debate took up more than half an hour of the two-hour debate. Jeva Lange
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