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Medicare chief says ‘Medicare-for-all’ is ‘biggest threat to American health care system’

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Medicare chief says 'Medicare-for-all' is ‘biggest threat to American health care system’

The nation’s top Medicare official said on ‘Fox & Friends’ Wednesday that Democrats’ “Medicare-for-all” proposal amounts to “the biggest threat to the American health care system,” claiming the policy would lead to worse care and longer wait times.

“I’ve been saying that Medicare-for-all is the biggest threat to the American health care system,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma said. “What we’re talking about is stripping people of their private health insurance, forcing them into a government-run program.”

BERNIE SANDERS’ ‘MEDICARE-FOR-ALL’ PLANS INCLUDES HEALTH CARE FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., unveiled his latest Medicare-for-all plan last week — legislation that was endorsed by other 2020 Democratic hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, N.Y., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. A similar bill has been introduced in the House.

Such plans would abolish almost all private coverage. Proponents have said such plans would give access to health care to all, recognizing it as a human right.

Some estimates put the 10-year cost of the plan at more than $32 trillion. Sanders said at a Fox News town hall on Monday that it would mean many Americans would “pay more in taxes.” But he also argued the plan’s costs would replace premiums and deductibles already being paid by American families, claiming many would pay less in the end.

“I am concerned about the debt. That’s a legitimate concern,” Sanders said. “But we pay for what we are proposing. In terms of Medicare for All, we are paying for that by eliminating as I said before, deductibles and premiums. We are going to save the average American family money.”

An informal poll of the audience on Monday showed most in attendance indicating they could support such a plan.

But Verma noted that socialized health care systems in other countries have problems of their own — including long wait times and poor care — leading citizens to travel to the U.S. for drugs and care they can’t access at home.

“So this is a bureaucracy that’s going to be making decisions about everybody’s healthcare, what kind of benefits they can have, what kind of medications that they can have access to,” she said. “And if we look at other socialized countries that have tried this approach, what do we see there? Long wait times, poor quality health care and that’s why those people are flying to the United States to get their health care.”

NEW MEDICARE-FOR-ALL’ BILL WOULD LARGELY OUTLAW PRIVATE INSURANCE

“The reality is we’re having problems today paying for the Medicare program and the trustees have warned about solvency, so adding more people to the program is only going to exacerbate it,” she said.

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The plan has also seen skepticism from Democrats in Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in February that “Medicare-for-all” may not be “as good a benefit as the Affordable Care Act.”

“It doesn’t have catastrophic [coverage] — you have to go buy it. It doesn’t have dental. It’s not as good as the plans that you can buy under the Affordable Care Act,” she told Rolling Stone in an interview. “So I say to them, come in with your ideas, but understand that we’re either gonna have to improve Medicare — for all, including seniors — or else people are not gonna get what they think they’re gonna get. … And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for?”

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Cindy McCain responds to reports that her family will endorse Joe Biden in 2020 race

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Cindy McCain responds to reports that her family will endorse Joe Biden in 2020 race

Cindy McCain, the widow of late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., responded to the reports that her family will endorse former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

McCain tweeted Wednesday: “Joe Biden is a wonderful man and dear friend of the McCain Family. However, I have no intention of getting involved in presidential politics.”

Her daughter, “The View” host Meghan McCain retweeted the remarks.

JOE BIDEN OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL BID

Biden officially announced his candidacy for president Thursday in a video message, capping off weeks of reports that he will join the crowded Democratic field. Biden unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988 and 2008.

McCain’s comment comes after a report in the Washington Examiner that said the McCain family would support Biden. The report cited sources close to the family.

“The source said they expected Meghan McCain to speak out in favor of Biden should he get the nomination, but a Cindy McCain endorsement could come sooner,” according to the Washington Examiner.

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During the 2016 presidential election, Sen. John McCain withdrew his support for then-candidate Donald Trump following the “Access Hollywood” tape. Trump recently criticized McCain by saying he was not “a fan” of the late senator. McCain died in August 2018 after a battle with cancer. Trump has made a habit of attacking McCain, even after his death.

Fox News’ Liam Quinn contributed to this report.

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Ocasio-Cortez-aligned group attacks Biden, says he’s ‘out-of-touch’ with Democratic Party

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Joe Biden announces 2020 presidential bid: 3 things to know about the former vice president

A progressive political group that boosted New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s bid for Congress last year vowed to oppose former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, blasting him as part of the “old guard” and accusing him of standing in opposition to the “center of energy” in the Democratic Party.

JOE BIDEN OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL BID

“While we’re going to support the Democratic nominee, we can’t let a so-called ‘centrist’ like Joe Biden divide the Democratic Party and turn it into the party of ‘No, we can’t,’” the group Justice Democrats said Thursday.

Biden announced his candidacy for president Thursday. He enters a crowded field of Democratic contenders aiming to unseat President Trump — nearly 32 years after he announced his first campaign for president. The campaign is Biden’s third bid for the White House, having also unsuccessfully run in 1988 and 2008.

“The old guard of the Democratic Party failed to stop Trump, and they can’t be counted on to lead the fight against his divide-and-conquer politics today,” Justice Democrats said. “The party needs new leadership with a bold vision capable of energizing voters in the Democratic base who stayed home in 2016.”

The group added: “Joe Biden stands in near complete opposition to where the center of energy is in the Democratic Party today.”

BIDEN’S SENATE RECORDS HELD BY HIS ALMA MATER WON’T BE RELEASED UNTIL LATE 2019, POSSIBLY EVEN LATER

“Democrats are increasingly uniting around progressive populist policies like ‘Medicare-for-All,’ a Green New Deal, free college, rejecting corporate money, ending mass incarceration and deportation. We don’t need someone who voted for the Iraq War, for mass incarceration, and for the Bankruptcy Reform Act while voting against gay marriage, reproductive rights, and school desegregation,” Justice Democrats said.

Others, though, took issue with the group’s claim about the energy in the party.

“It’s probably worth noting that while this group, Justice Democrats, calls Biden ‘out-of-touch’ with the ‘center of energy’ in the Democratic Party, only 26 of the 79 candidates it endorsed last year won their primaries, and only 7 of those went on to win the general election,” said Nate Silver, the editor of FiveThirtyEight.

According to its website, Justice Democrats says its mission is “to elect a new type of Democratic majority in Congress, one which will create a thriving economy and democracy that works for the people, not big money interests.”

The attacks could foreshadow the looming clash between the progressive and establishment wings of the party: Biden, along with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — who enjoys the support of Democratic Socialists in the party — have consistently topped the polls in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Fox News’ Lillian LeCroy and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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Cory Booker’s tax returns shows income from lucrative speaking gigs, royalties

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Cory Booker's tax returns shows income from lucrative speaking gigs, royalties

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker’s tax returns show most of his wealth stems from lucrative speaking engagements and royalties.

Booker, the 2020 candidate who has yet to make a splash in the crowded Democratic field, released 10 years of tax returns on Wednesday after numerous other candidates released their records in recent weeks.

WHO ARE THE WEALTHIEST 2020 DEMS? WITH TAX RETURNS IN, THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU

The New Jersey senator reported income of $152,715 in 2018 for his salary, $22,781 in taxes which amounts to an effective tax rate of 15 percent, significantly lower than Sen. Kamala Harris’ 37 percent or Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 26 percent.

Most of Booker’s wealth comes public speaking fees and royalties, including $2 million in speaking fees between 2009 and 2014, nearly $1 million in royalties from 2015 to 2017 after the release of his book, “United.”

But the lower effective tax rate may have something to with Booker’s sizeable charitable donations. In 2018, he donated $24,000 to charity. In total over the 10-year period, the senator donated nearly $460,000 to various organizations and causes.

BETO O’ROURKE CONFRONTED AT TOWN HALL ABOUT STINGY CHARITABLE DONATIONS

This appears to be significantly more in proportion than his opponents like Sanders or former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who faced questions over his household giving to charity just $1,166 in 2017, or about 0.3 percent of their income that year.

At the same time, more than half of those donations made by Booker came in 2013 amid criticism of his role in the founding of a social media company called Waywire, prompting him to give massive amounts of stock to charities in his city.

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The New York Times revealed that Booker’s wealth at the time – $5 million – consisted mostly of shares in the company.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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