Political Editors / Jul. 17, 2019

Biden Promises ‘You Can Keep Your Plan’

Now where have we heard that promise before? Oh, right — Barack Obama.

Joe Biden has so far largely been content to coast as the Democrat presidential frontrunner. This week, however, he released his plan for health care while singing a tune you may recall: “If you like your health care plan … you can keep it.” Yes, he actually said that.

Seeking a contrast with Bernie “$32 trillion Medicare for All” Sanders and other Democrats pushing variations on that single-payer plan to kill private health insurance, Biden wants to bring back the “glory” days of Barack Obama’s administration and ObamaCare. He wants voters skittish about socialism to choose an unrecognizably cronyist Frankenstein version of capitalism.

How far left have Democrats gone when a $750 billion expansion of ObamaCare’s estimated $1.6 trillion cost over the next decade is now the “centrist” position?

“You get a choice,” declared Biden. “You get full coverage, and you can stay with your plan if you like it,” Biden said. “You can stay with your employer-based plan, or you can move on. I think it’s the quickest, most reasonable, rational and best way to get to universal coverage.”

Of course, Obama promised dozens of times that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” only for millions of Americans to be kicked off those plans once ObamaCare wrecked the insurance market. In fact, Obama’s oft-repeated promise was named PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” in 2013 — fitting, given that ObamaCare was built on a foundation of lies.

So it’s curious to see Biden repeat that promise, but then again, maybe he’s just that desperate for Obama’s endorsement. And he’s hoping voters are desperate for a third Obama term.

His plan is also ObamaCare “on steroids,” says the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein:

He wants to increase the subsidies to purchase insurance on Obamacare’s exchanges. Instead of limiting subsidies to those who earn above about $50,000 for individuals, Biden would set a cap that would limit the cost of premiums to 8.5% of a person’s income, so people earning above the current Obamacare cutoff could now qualify for assistance.

Additionally, under Obamacare, the subsidies are pegged to the cost of a midlevel “silver” plan. This was done in an effort to contain costs by asking people to pay more if they wanted more generous coverage. Steering individuals toward plans with relatively higher deductibles and co-payments was also a way of discouraging overuse of the system. But Biden’s plan would peg subsidies to “gold” coverage with lower deductibles. This will both increase the cost of subsidies to the government and the use of healthcare.

Exit question and answer: Asked Tuesday what his estimate for Medicare for All would be, Sanders replied, “Somewhere between $30 and $40 trillion over a 10 year period.” But, he says that’s a way better deal than Biden’s plan: “What the most serious economists tell us, that if we do nothing to fundamentally change the health care system, which is what Joe was talking about … we’ll be spending something like $50 trillion over a 10 year period.” Sanders will give a speech Wednesday defending Medicare for All.

How far left have Democrats gone when socialism is supposed to be the better deal?

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