Sen. Bernie Sanders and former VP Joe Biden debate how the government should respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Sanders makes the point that the government promising to help people afford testing and treatment is a testament to why his single-payer "Medicare For All" plan is so necessary, saying the status quo of America's healthcare system is already a crisis. Biden explains why the government should pay for treatment for this pandemic but not healthcare in general, saying the outbreak should be treated like a "war."
"Look, I -- this is a national crisis. I don't want to get this in back and forth in terms of politics here," Biden told Sanders when questioned about his campaign being funded by insurance and pharmaceutical executives.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: You're saying right now, in the middle of a crisis, but you know what, last year at least 30,000 people died in America because they didn't get health care when they should because we don't have universal coverage. I think that's a crisis.
1 out of 5 people cannot afford the prescription drugs they need. They suffer, some die. I consider that a crisis.
Bottom line is we need a simple system, which exists in Canada, exists in countries all over the world.
That is, if you are an American, you get the health care you need, end of discussion. We can save huge sums of money doing that. The trick is, do we have the guts to take on the health care industry, some of whom are funding the vice president's campaign. Do we have the courage to take on the executives at the prescription drug industry, some of whom are funding his campaign.
JOE BIDEN: Look, I -- this is a national crisis. I don't want to get this in back and forth in terms of politics here.
I laid out a plan, building on Obamacare, providing the public option of Medicare. It would cover everyone the same way. This idea that this is his only answer is a mistake in notion.
But regardless of whether my plan was in place or his, this is a crisis.
This is like we are being attacked from abroad. This is something that is of great consequence. This is like a war. And in a war, you do whatever is needed to be done to take care of your people. What you do is -- and I proposed it and laid it out in detail. Everything that you need in terms of dealing with this crisis would be free. It is paid for by the taxpayers, generally. Generally. It has nothing to do with Bernie's Medicare For All, by the way.