Calling it “a bad opening offer,” Sen. Michael Bennet, a moderate Democrat mulling a presidential run, on Sunday shot down calls from the left wing of his party to eliminate private insurance as part of a sweeping health care overhaul.
Asked about "Medicare for all" proposals on NBC’s "Meet the Press," the Colorado Democrat touted a bill he has co-sponsored with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) that would create a public health care option but let people keep their existing insurance.
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"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," Bennet said. "Now, what Democrats are saying is, ‘If you like your insurance, we’re going to take it away from you,’ from 180 million people that get their insurance from their employer and like it or 20 million Americans who are on Medicare Advantage, and love it."
"That seems like a bad opening offer for me."
Bennet’s comments underscored growing tensions within the Democratic Party between moderates and an increasingly influential progressive base that’s pushing for dramatic structural policy shifts in health care and the economy.
Bennet, who has not announced a presidential run, said candidates should be judged "based on the results that they actually get" and not "the press conferences that they have."
He touted his experience in business and as a school superintendent.
"We’ve got a million people that are going to run, which I think is great. We have to do it," he said. "And I think having one more voice in that conversation that’s focused on America’s future, I don’t think would hurt."