Elections

Clinton blasts Sanders for failing to say how he would pay for costly health care plan

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, argues a point during the Brown & Black Forum, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, argues a point during the Brown & Black Forum, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. AP

With the race for the Democratic nomination tightening, front-runner Hillary Clinton is criticizing her chief rival Bernie Sanders for failing to say how he would pay for a health care plan some have estimated to cost $15 trillion.

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told reporters Wednesday that it’s “alarming” that he will not say where he will get the money for the plan before the Iowa caucuses Feb. 1.

“We think that the caucus goers in Iowa deserve to hear form Senator Sanders about how he will pay for this single proposal,” he said.

Clinton senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan said it was “simply not possible” to implement Sanders’ healthcare plan without raising taxes on the middle class, which Clinton has said she would not do.

Clinton accuses Sanders of waiting to dismantle Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. “He wants to roll Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act, and private health insurance into a national system and turn it over to the states to administer. Now, if that is the revolution he is talking about, I am worried, folks,” Clinton said at a campaign event Tuesday in Iowa.

Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, has supported a universal health care plan that includes an expansion of Medicare for years. In 2013, when he introduced a single-payer bill in 2013, he said the proposal would be paid for through “an equitable system of progressive taxation, payroll taxes and re-allocation of current dedicated health care expenditures by the federal, state and local governments.”

His campaign released a chart Wednesday showing how he would seek to pay for some proposals, though not health care.

“Every proposal Sen. Sanders has introduced in this campaign has been paid for,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said. “We hope the Clinton campaign will stop engaging in false and misleading attacks and instead provide similar clarity on how their proposals will actually be paid for.”

Clinton’s proposals for new and expanded government programs would cost at least $1.1 trillion over 10 years. In many cases, her campaign does not lay out specifically how she would pay for them, though some groups estimate she could raise enough through taxes on the wealthy and government savings.

Sanders said Wednesday that Barack Obama attacked Clinton in 2008 for supporting the same plan Sanders does now.

“Now she's attacking me because I support universal health care,” Sanders said on MSNBC. “In 2008 she was attacking Obama because Obama was attacking her because she supported universal health care.”

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