Bernie Sanders contradicted New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, describing his Medicare for All bill as a concession from what a single-payer healthcare system could be.
“I love Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has done more in her first year in Congress to transform politics, to get young people involved, than any freshman member of Congress that I can remember,” the Vermont senator, 78, said during a CNN town hall.
He added, “But, my view is that Medicare for All, the bill that we wrote, is already a compromise. It is a four-year transition period.”
Ocasio-Cortez, 30, told HuffPost last week that, in a “worst-case scenario,” Democrats may need to “compromise deeply” and agree to roll out a “public option” healthcare insurance system.
Sanders, the socialist front-runner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, was hesitant to go on the record late Tuesday on whether he would accept campaign contributions from billionaire rival and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 78, should the senator win the nomination. Two national polls released Tuesday morning showed the pair forming a top tier among the White House hopefuls still vying for the right to challenge President Trump in the general election.
“I don’t think we’re going to need that money because, interestingly enough, I think, when you have an agenda, as we have, that speaks to the needs of working families, you can have millions and millions and millions of people chipping in 10 bucks a piece,” he said in response to multiple questions and after a delayed pause.
Sanders’s ideological ally, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 70, has already said she would take money from Bloomberg should she become her party’s standard-bearer for the fall despite her rhetoric against the ultra-wealthy.
Sanders’s appearance on CNN precedes the Nevada debate on Wednesday night. The Democratic National Committee-sanctioned forum, to air from Las Vegas ahead of Saturday’s caucuses, will feature Bloomberg for the first time after the media mogul and philanthropist qualified Tuesday thanks to polling above 10% in a slew of recent surveys.
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