Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said at a debate Thursday he would not dismantle the current health insurance system created by the Affordable Care Act while creating his single-payer system.
Hillary Clinton said at the debate in New Hampshire, which has its primary Tuesday, that she shares Sanders' wish for universal health insurance coverage but “the disagreement is where do we start from.”
It was the first Democratic debate without Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, which Clinton won by a slim margin.
Clinton has frequently said Sanders would start over with healthcare and once again ignite contentious national debate, while she would simply build upon the successes of the ACA. Sanders said that is inaccurate.
“The Affordable Care Act has clearly, as Secretary Clinton made the point, done a lot of good things, but, what it has not done is dealt with the fact we have 29 million people today who have zero health insurance, we have even more who are underinsured with large deductibles and copayments and prescription drug prices are off the wall,” he said.
Sanders has proposed a Medicare-for-all plan that would provide government coverage for all Americans. He has put forward taxes on the rich and middle class to pay for the plan, although some economists say they would not be enough.
Toward the end of the debate, Clinton included healthcare reform in a list of what would be on her agenda as president, focusing on achieving 100% insurance coverage and lowering prescription drug prices.