Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders slam Trump over data showing fewer Americans have health insurance

Key Points
  • Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders both slam President Trump over new data that show the number of people with health insurance declined for the first time since Obamacare went into effect.
  • But the 2020 Democratic primary rivals use the data, released Tuesday by the Census Bureau, to promote their radically different proposals for reforming the health care system.
  • Biden pushes to preserve Obamacare, while Sanders advocates for Medicare for All.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) take the stage for the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders both slammed President Donald Trump over new data that showed the number of people with health insurance declining for the first time since Obamacare went into effect.

But the 2020 Democratic primary rivals used the data, released Tuesday by the Census Bureau, to promote their radically different proposals for reforming the health care system. Health care likely will be a crucial topic in Thursday's Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston, which will feature 10 candidates.

Biden, who served as vice president under President Barack Obama, again pushed to preserve Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act.

He tweeted that the ACA suffered "countless attacks" by the Trump administration, resulting in an additional 1.9 million people uninsured.

"As president, I'll defend and build on the ACA," he added.

Sanders, I-Vt., continued to press for Medicare for All.

"Remember when Donald Trump promised to provide health care to everyone in America? He lied," Sanders said in a statement released by his campaign. "Under Medicare for All, we will guarantee health care to everyone in America and bring the uninsured rate down to where it belongs: zero."

Candidates Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke also weighed in on the data.

Harris tweeted that Trump and Republicans had "sabotaged" the Affordable Care Act.

"They played politics with health care and now Americans are paying the price," she tweeted.

She sides with Sanders in supporting Medicare for All, according to her campaign website.

O'Rourke tweeted, "We need a president who will fight to achieve universal, guaranteed, high-quality health care for every single American."

The campaigns for Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump in light of the new data, saying in an email to CNBC that his initiatives have provided millions of Americans with access to more "short-term limited duration plans and association health plans."