Politics

Democrats Start Another Night Of Debates Sparring Over Health Care. Booker Says They’re Helping Trump

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

Wednesday night’s Democratic debate featured heated sparring between progressives and moderates over the future of health care in the U.S., leaving New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker wondering why.

“Let me just say that the person that’s enjoying this debate most right now is [President] Donald Trump — while we pit Democrats against each other, while he is working right now to take away Americans’ health care. … This pitting against progressives against moderates, saying one is unrealistic and the other doesn’t care enough, that to me is dividing a party and demoralizing us in face of the real enemy here,” Booker said.

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Booker received support from the pharmaceutical industry in the past and represents a state where many of those companies are headquartered. He threw his support behind Medicare for all Wednesday, something Big Pharma hates. His stance matched that of several other Democrats on the stage. (RELATED: Kamala Harris Uses Her New Medicare For All Plan To Go After Bernie)

For example, California Sen. Kamala Harris released her own version of Medicare for all Monday. She seemingly walked back her support for eliminating the entire private health insurance market after saying she misinterpreted a question at the first round of Democratic presidential debates in June.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who released his health care plan before Harris did, attacked her plan as too expensive and unrealistic after opening statements were done.

“If you notice, there is no talk about the fact that the plan in 10 years will cost $3 trillion,” Biden said. “You will lose your employer-based insurance and in fact, you know, this is the single-most important issue facing the public and to be very blunt and to be very straightforward, you can’t beat President Trump with double talk on this plan.”

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Other Democrats who are struggling in the polls tried to make their marks during the health care portion of the debate. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee received applause when he brought up mental health care.

“It is time to give people adequate mental health care in this country. We have had some success [in Washington] in integrating mental health with physical health. There’s no reason we should distinguish between your physiological and your mental health,” Inslee said.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang brought up the barrier that providing health care to employees can be for potential businesses, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sparred over how realistic Medicare for all-type plans are.

“You can’t hide from the truth,” Bennet told de Blasio, who had said other Democrats’ were “fearmongering” about the downsides of pursuing universal health care.

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