We expected health care to be a hot topic at Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Detroit, and we were wrong. It was on fire. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) were basically at the throats of the more moderate candidates onstage who questioned their Medicare for All plans.
Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) was on the front lines for the Army of the Moderates. In the beginning stages of the debate, he told Sanders exactly what he thought of his health care idea and how it would boot Americans off their private insurance plans.
"Why do we have to be the party of taking something away from someone?" Delaney wondered.
He's also previously addressed Medicare for All as "political suicide."
CNN moderator Jake Tapper asked Sanders to respond.
"You're wrong!" he said.
Yet, Delaney dared Sanders and Warren to argue that they aren't lobbying to kick people off their insurance because "it says it right in the bill." His idea, BetterCare, would give Americans choices. Medicare for All, by contrast, "is extreme."
"His math is wrong," Delaney concluded of Sanders's measure.
The congressman said in his tour of rural America, concerned hospital workers told him their hospitals would close if all their bills had to be paid at the Medicare rate.
But Sanders was relentless, as was Warren, who chimed in to rebuke Delaney too.
"We are Democrats," she said. "We are not about taking health care away from anyone."
She then accused Delaney of "using Republican talking points."
Yet other candidates, like South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg, were also not thrilled with Medicare for All. He had a slightly different idea. Buttigieg's Medicare for All Who Want It plan would offer a public alternative that would be both "more affordable and more comprehensive" than corporate options, he argued. As such, Americans will walk away from the corporate options.
"It will become Medicare for All without us having to kick people off their insurance," he reasoned.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), meanwhile, told Sanders and Warren she "just has a better way to do this."
Her "better way" is a public option for health care. She argued it's "what Obama wanted" and it's "moral."