Clinton says Sanders' health plan is 'promise that cannot be kept'

Hillary Clinton said Thursday that “the numbers don't add up” in her opponent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' single-payer health plan and it's “a promise that cannot be kept.”

In the first Democratic debate since Sanders' overwhelming win in the New Hampshire primary, Sanders said his Medicare-for-all plan would work if the federal government had the courage to stand up to pharmaceutical, insurance and medical device companies.

Clinton said she has a history of standing up to those industries, and does not want to have another contentious national debate about healthcare that would risk undermining the achievements of the Affordable Care Act.

“Especially with healthcare, this is not about math; this is about people's lives,” she said. “This is about leveling with the American people about what we can do to make sure they can get quality, affordable healthcare.”

Sanders said he would not get rid of the ACA, but Clinton countered that a Medicare-for-all plan would, by definition, not include the law, which was built on the existing employer-based insurance system. She said Americans would be worse off under his plan than they are now.

Multiple analyses of Sanders plan have found he is likely overestimating its cost savings and the amount his proposed taxes would raise to pay for it.

The next Democratic primary votes will be cast toward the end of the month in South Carolina and Nevada. Then there will be more than a dozen primaries on Super Tuesday, March 1.

Shannon Muchmore

Shannon Muchmore reports from Washington on health politics and policy. Before joining Modern Healthcare in 2015, she was the health reporter at the Tulsa (Okla.) World. She has a bachelor’s degree in news editorial journalism from Oklahoma State University.

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