6 healthcare highlights from the debate

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Six Democratic candidates for president got fired up over healthcare in the ninth debate, hosted in Las Vegas Feb. 19.

Here are six sound bites that captured the conversation:

1. "Let me be very clear to my good friends in the Culinary Workers Union, a great union. I will never sign a bill that will reduce the healthcare benefits they have. We will only expand it for them, for every union in America, and for the working class of this country," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., addressing the lack of support from some unions for his single-payer healthcare plan.   

2. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose plan features a public option, begged to differ. "This idea that the union members don't know what's good for them is the exact kind of condescension and arrogance that makes people skeptical of the policies we've been putting forward," he said, using the moment to plug his public-option plan. 

3. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has a moderate stance on healthcare, also said she felt "Medicare for All" goes too far. "The truth is that when you see some troubled waters, you don't blow up a bridge, you build one. And so we need to improve the Affordable Care Act, not blow it up," she said.

4. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who plans to take a stepped approach to achieving single-payer healthcare, took a swipe at the level of detail in her opponents' plans. "Mayor Buttigieg really has a slogan that was thought up by his consultants to paper over a thin version of a plan that would leave millions of people unable to afford their healthcare. It's not a plan. It's a PowerPoint," she said. "And Amy's plan is even less. It's like a Post-It note."

5. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is running on improving the ACA, hammered the cost issue. "[My plan] cost $750 billion over 10 years. But I paid for it by making sure that Mike [Bloomberg] and other people pay at the same tax rate their secretary pays at," he said. "[Medicare for All] cost over $35 trillion bucks. Let's get real."

6. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg denied calling the ACA "a disgrace" as he plugged his plan to build on the law. "In '09, I testified and gave a speech before the mayors' conference in Washington advocating it and trying to get all the mayors to sign on. I think at that time I wrote an article praising Obamacare," he said. Note: Mr. Bloomberg did call the ACA "a disgrace" in 2010, according to CNN.

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