‘He thinks he’s running against somebody else’: Trump, Biden spar over health care at debate

President Trump’s attempt to paint Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s health care plan as a government takeover of the medical industry was met with stiff resistance in the second and final presidential debate Thursday night.

Trump said that Biden’s plan, which would provide a “public option” that gives Americans the ability to buy into a government plan, would eliminate private insurance. But Biden, who frequently sparred with his more left-wing Democratic primary rivals over the issue, insisted that he would leave private insurance alone. 

“The idea that I want to eliminate private insurance, the reason why I had such a fight with 20 candidates for the nomination,” Biden said. “I support private insurance, that’s why not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan.”

“When he says public option, he’s talking about socialized medicine and health care,” Trump said, referring to government-run health care programs, adding “When he talks about a public option, he’s talking about destroying your Medicare,” which is a government-run health care program.

Trump then began discussing the single-payer plan supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders and many Democratic primary voters, which would provide government-funded insurance for all Americans.

“He’s a very confused guy, he thinks he’s running against somebody else,” Biden replied. “He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.”

Trump returned to his promise that he would soon unveil a “beautiful” health care plan. The president, however, has promised for years that he would release a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, but has never done so. 

“What I would like to do is a much better health care, much better, we’ll always protect people with pre-existing, so I’d like to terminate Obamacare and come up with a brand new beautiful health care,” Trump said when discussing what he would do to improve health care. “The Democrats will do it because there will be tremendous pressure on them and we might even have the House [of Representatives] by that time and I think we’re going to win the House, okay?”

Republicans had control of both houses of Congress during Trump’s first two years in office but were unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Trump’s optimism notwithstanding, there are no nonpartisan analysts who expect Republicans to retake the House next month, and there’s a possibility Democrats could build on their majority.

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