Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBipartisan senators ask industry for information on surprise medical bills Overnight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (D-Colo.), who is mulling a 2020 presidential bid, says a plan to provide "Medicare for all" and take away private insurance, which has the support of several Democratic White House hopefuls, is “a bad opening offer.”
Bennet is presenting himself as a moderate possible alternative in next year’s Democratic primary, although he has yet to formally announce his campaign.
Bennet warned that Democrats should remember the public backlash the party felt after some families were forced to transition to new health plans after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
He suggested the political turmoil would be worse if private health plans were abolished under Medicare for all, as Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRob Lowe mocks Warren over Native American ancestry claims Trump makes Native American joke about Warren campaign announcement: 'See you on the campaign TRAIL' Trump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism MORE (D-Calif.) proposed at a recent CNN town hall event.
“Remember when President Obama said, ‘If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.' And then a few people in America actually lost their insurance because of the way that the plan worked. Now what the Democrats are saying is, ‘If you like your insurance, we’re going to take it away from you,’ ” Bennet said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
Bennet said 180 million people get their insurance from employers and “like it” and 20 million Americans are on Medicare Advantage, a program under which people have private plans approved by Medicare, and “love it.”
He said abolishing those plans under a single-payer federal health care plan “seems like a bad opening offer for me.”
Bennet said he would prefer setting up a public health insurance plan to compete with private companies to provide more choice to consumers.
“I think we’d be much better off with a bill like the one I have with Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineKaine calls for Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to resign Dems wary of killing off filibuster Dems accused of MeToo hypocrisy in Virginia MORE called Medicare X, that creates a public option,” he said. “It helps finish the work of ObamaCare.”
He said a public option would give consumers the choice of keeping private insurance or choosing a public plan.
Bennet is presenting himself as a more centrist alternative to liberal colleagues such as Harris and Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenRob Lowe mocks Warren over Native American ancestry claims Trump makes Native American joke about Warren campaign announcement: 'See you on the campaign TRAIL' Trump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersTrump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism Warren launches White House bid with call for 'structural change' Let's examine factors that might be favorable for Dems in 2020 MORE (I-Vt.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerTrump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism A new direction for black politics: Power at state, local levels Warren launches White House bid with call for 'structural change' MORE (D-N.J.), who are looking seriously at challenging Trump next year.
“I think that I've got a different set of experiences than the other folks in the race, many of whom are my friends and people that I like. But, I spent time in business and time as a school superintendent before I was in the in the job that I'm in now,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd.