Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden made a shocking admission on Sunday concerning socialized health care systems and their ability to handle pandemic such as the one facing the world right now.
According to The Washington Times, Biden admitted during Sunday’s debate with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that the coronavirus outbreak in Italy has exposed the very serious shortcomings of such health care structures.
Such a statement from a potential Democrat nominee is telling. Single-payer health care systems around the world have been overwhelmed by the current pandemic, despite Sanders’ protestations to the contrary.
COVID-19 has been a significant stress test for health care systems around the world. Most have failed the test and the consequences are devastating.
“You have a single-payer system in Italy. It doesn’t work there. It has nothing to do with ‘Medicare for All.’ That will not serve the problem at all,” Biden sniped during his first one-on-one debate with Sanders.
The reality is that the pandemic is overloading the health care systems in the hardest-hit countries. There simply aren’t enough beds to deal with thousands of critical cases at once.
What Biden said about Italy isn’t far from the truth. The country is facing immense pressure from the outbreak that has been devastating the country and wreaking havoc on its health care system and economy, as The New York Times notes.
Sanders took an opposite posture, arguing that “this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality of our current health care system” and calling for government-controlled health care as the solution to the crisis.
Potentially pivotal moment
Biden’s commentary could end up having a significant impact on the race for the nomination. Attacking single-payer health care could be seen as anathema in the modern Democratic Party and may alienate progressive voters who already are far from sold on Biden.
While many see the former vice president as the inevitable nominee, there is still time for Sanders to make inroads, though the pandemic has caused significant disruption to the primary election schedule.
Using Biden’s comments on health care against him could provide a much-needed boost for Sanders. Biden said he would veto Medicare for All proposals because of their massive price tags, according to CNBC — and while this stance appeals to moderates, it may cause those on the far left to stay home this November.
The 2020 election will be different from any other in recent memory. The coronavirus crisis will shape every point of policy, and we may have already seen the Democratic primary race shift dramatically as a result.