During the third round of Democratic debates, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro attacked Joe Biden and Biden’s health care plan.
Castro began with a monologue on the differences between his plan and Biden’s. The most important differentiation he makes is his claim that Biden’s plan would leave 10 million people uncovered.
That’s a big difference, because Barack Obama’s vision was not to leave 10 million people uncovered. He wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that. Your plan would not.
“They do not have to buy in,” Biden said.
“You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago. You just two minutes ago that they would have to buy in,” Castro said.
“Do not have to buy in if you can’t afford it,” Biden said.
“You said they would have to buy in,” Castro said.
“Your grandmother would not have to buy in. If she qualifies for Medicaid, she would automatically be enrolled,” Biden said.
“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that,” Castro said.
Castro ended their spat by saying, “I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not.”
To which Biden responded, “That’ll be a surprise to him.”
Julián Castro goes after Joe Biden on health care: "I'm fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you're not."
— ABC News (@ABC) September 13, 2019
In the transcript of the Democratic debates, Biden did say “you can automatically buy into this.” However, it seems that was another one of Biden’s trademark gaffes. Biden’s message of whether people are automatically enrolled or must opt in to expanded Obamacare was unclear.
The option I’m proposing is Medicare for all — Medicare for choice. If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance — from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don’t have — no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in. You get covered, period.
While on face value Biden said that you can “buy into” Obamacare, he also said, “you get covered, period,” and you can “automatically buy into this.” It’s very difficult to have the government automatically enroll you in something while simultaneously giving you the option to join a program.
ABC’s own Jonathan Karl admits that Castro was wrong on the substance of his attack against Biden.
On ABC, @jonkarl says that based on the transcript, Julian Castro was “flatly wrong” on the *substance* of his controversial swipe at Biden’s age. That’s a double-whammy.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 13, 2019
Castro is polling at 1 percent, even lower than individuals who did not make the cut for the debate stage. (Such as Tulsi Gabbard.)
As a candidate who barely made it onto the debate stage, Castro was clearly looking for an offensive moment that would boost his poll numbers. Unfortunately for Castro, the move made Biden look sympathetic because the attack was baseless and took a slight jab at Biden’s age.