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Democratic Debate: Bloomberg says he’s ‘fan’ of Obamacare – but Biden suggests a fact check

  • February 20, 2020

Michael Bloomberg gave glimpses Wednesday into his stance on health care, in between pointed questions about his record on policing practices and treatment of his female employees.  

In his first appearance on the Democratic debate stage, Bloomberg disputed rival Joe Biden’s charge that he’d previously called the Affordable Care Act a disgrace. The Democratic presidential hopeful described himself as “a fan” of the initiative.

“I was in favor of it,” Bloomberg said, adding that he believed that it didn’t go as far as it needed to and should be expanded, not swept aside. 

Bloomberg said the policy should include “another public option,” as well as rules that would cap charges. “We shouldn’t just walk away and start something that is totally new,” he said.

But Biden continued to challenge Bloomberg’s claim that the former New York City mayor had always supported the Obama administration’s signature domestic achievement.

“The mayor said when we passed it . . . it was a disgrace,” Biden said. “Look it up. Check it out.’’

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It was one of several fierce exchanges between the six contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, as the group jousted for two hours on a stage in Las Vegas.

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Bloomberg touted his record as mayor when the conversation turned to whether taxes should be raised on small businesses, particularly those launched by black and Latino entrepreneurs. 

While Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden noted that they would not raise taxes, Bloomberg focused on the initiatives he’d launched to help support new business owners. 

“I’m the only one here I think that’s ever started a business,’’ Bloomberg said. “I can tell you in New York City we had programs, mentoring programs for the young business people . . . We had programs to get them seed capital.’’

He also said there needs to be bank branches in neighborhoods to help business people secure loans and mortgages.

“It doesn’t take trillions of dollars,” Bloomberg said. “It takes us to focus on the problems.’’

Follow Charisse Jones on Twitter @charissejones

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