Bill de Blasio blasted Beto O'Rourke on Saturday over the former Texas lawmaker’s opposition to “Medicare for All,” accusing his fellow Democratic presidential candidate of engaging in "lazy fear mongering tactics" as the health care policy debate ratchets up.
"If someone proposed a 'radical' idea called public education today, Beto would try to warn us that 180 million Americans would be kicked out of their schools. Let’s leave the lazy fear mongering tactics to Trump," the mayor of New York tweeted after O’Rourke said getting rid of private health care would force a majority of Americans off their existing insurance.
O'Rourke opposes the single-payer health care plan — which would eliminate private insurance — and instead advocates for a plan that preserves employment-based insurance while giving individuals the option to switch to a new Medicare-based program.
O'Rourke had earlier tweeted that individuals "don’t have to make the false choice between a status quo where millions of Americans are uninsured and millions more can't afford their prescriptions—and a plan that would force 180 million Americans off their insurance. That's why I support 'Medicare for America.'"
O'Rourke took to Twitter to respond to de Blasio an hour later.
"Thanks for reaching out, Bill. Just like every parent can send their kid to a public school, under our plan, every American who wants to enroll in Medicare can do so. It’s the best way to guarantee high-quality health care for every single American," O’Rourke wrote.
De Blasio replied: "An important debate, my friend. But the best way to guarantee high-quality care is to make sure wealthy and poor people, healthy and sick people all get the same care. To allow corporate interests to stay at the table will do the opposite."
Health care policy has become a primary focus among the Democratic candidates ahead of the second set of debates July 30-31.
Among Democratic candidates, almost half including de Blasio support Sen. Bernie Sanders' single-payer plan, with others such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris supporting more moderate buy-in plans. Nine candidates — including O'Rourke and former Vice President Joe Biden — oppose Medicare for All.
Last week, Sanders took a swipe at Biden for spreading "misinformation" after he said the single-payer plan was "risky" and would destroy the current Medicare program.
"Despite what you hear about Medicare for seniors being weakened, it will actually be strengthened," Sanders said.
Biden spokesman Bill Russo later called out the Vermont senator on Twitter, saying that the Sanders plan showed "that existing federal health programs go away."