Bernie Sanders was confronted on the mathematics of funding his socialist-inspired agenda, including programs such as “Medicare for all.”
Sanders, a Vermont senator who has pitched the ideas of free healthcare and free college as a front-runner for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, was pressed on his proposals’ estimated $60 trillion price tag over 10 years during an interview with CBS News.
“Well, look, we have political opponents,” he started before host Norah O’Donnell cut in, asking whether he didn’t know how much his plans cost.
Sanders, 78, replied: “You don’t know. Nobody knows. This is impossible to predict.”
He added that his “‘Medicare for all’ single-payer system” would be less expensive than the status quo.
Embracing Sanders’s signature legislation has hurt his rivals in the Democratic race for the White House, including Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Harris, 55, took a hit for being inconsistent regarding her vision for the role of private health insurers in the future. Warren, 70, was grilled for refusing to acknowledge middle-class taxes would increase under the framework. Sanders, however, has emerged unscathed by questions concerning its practicality.
Sanders also told CBS News late Friday he wouldn’t apologize to Joe Biden, 77, for his campaign’s attacks on the former vice president’s Social Security record. Sanders’s team pushed out a conveniently clipped video of Biden mocking former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s position on the entitlements program, not “lauding” it as the senator’s camp claimed.
“No, of course I won’t, not on that one, I won’t. For many, many years as a United States senator, Joe Biden has been on the floor and elsewhere talking about the need to freeze or cut Social Security benefits,” Sanders said.
On average, less than a percentage point separates Biden and Sanders in Iowa a week before Democrats in the first-in-the-nation state gather to caucus, according to RealClearPolitics data.