Former Vice President Joe Biden doubled down on his defense of the private insurance industry Friday by releasing an ad that critics slammed as a dishonest celebration of America’s fundamentally broken healthcare system.
The ad, which Biden posted on Twitter, is framed as a defense of the Affordable Care Act, but critics immediately interpreted its message as a not-so-subtle dig at Medicare for All.
“Is Joe Biden running for president of the United States or the private health insurance fan club? It’s hard to say at this point.”
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The video features a retired union worker named Marcy, who explains how she and her husband “earned” their private insurance and would “prefer to keep the Affordable Care Act.”
“I have my own private insurance,” Marcy says. “I don’t want to lose it.”
The underlying implication of Marcy’s message, as Splinter‘s Libby Watson wrote, “is that if you didn’t work, you didn’t earn your healthcare, and you don’t deserve what she has—private, better healthcare than Medicare for All, or whatever the masses get.”
“Is Joe Biden running for president of the United States or the private health insurance fan club? It’s hard to say at this point,” said Watson. “This is a message that would fit in just fine in a Paul Ryan speech. (This is not Marcy’s fault, mind you—it’s the message Joe Biden wants you to hear.)”
Democracy for America (DFA), a progressive advocacy group, condemned Biden’s ad as an attempt to “pit working people and generations against one another to perpetuate a broken healthcare system that values health insurance CEOs’ paychecks over people’s lives.”
“We know a better world is possible,” DFA tweeted, “and that’s why we fight for Medicare for All.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign also hit back at Biden, who has attacked Medicare for All with right-wing talking points on the campaign trail in recent days.
“Joe Biden releases a new ad for private health insurance companies,” tweeted Josh-Miller Lewis, Sanders’ digital communications director.
Marissa Barrera, Sanders’ health policy adviser, said she doesn’t understand how ‘I like my private health insurance’ is a valid argument against Medicare for All.”
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