DEARBORN – Former Vice President Joe Biden – in Michigan to attend an NAACP political event – blasted the “Medicare for All” platform backed by several of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying some of the candidates are living in a “fantasy world” as they peddle the idea that people can keep their private insurance and pay for the program without raising taxes on the middle and lower class.

“Be honest about it. We should be talking about how it is going to cost, you know, to raise taxes on the lower class,” he said Wednesday during a campaign stop in Dearborn. “Well, you got to find $30 to $40 trillion somewhere – and how are you going to do it? I find that people will say that for Medicare for All, but they’re not going to tax the middle class, because (there’s no need to).”

Biden added the only candidate backing the concept who has been “honest” about the situation for the need to raise taxes to pay for expanding Medicare to all Americans is U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). He said the only way to help fix the health care system in the country is to “expand Obamacare, provide a public option, take everyone who’s eligible for Medicaid, automatically enroll them (and) allow people to move into that if they want to if they don’t like (their) policy.”

And should Medicare for All somehow replace the Affordable Care Act, Biden said, he pointed to a lengthy timeline for implementation, asking rhetorically: “What happens? What happens to those people?”

“The idea that everybody acknowledges is that it’s going to take a while to pass this, number one, and number two, once it’s passed, they’re saying it’s going to delay four years for implementation,” Biden said. “What happens in the meantime? What happens to Obamacare? What happens to those people, a hundred million people covered – and maybe they have a plan, but I haven’t seen it – how are they going to fund that?

“What are they going to do for the situation that you have people with preexisting conditions and 20 million people without coverage?”

Biden stopped at Brome Modern Eatery for a burger following his appearance at the NAACP’s candidate forum during their annual convention. Joining him for lunch was Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Imam Mika’il Stewart Saadiq of the Michigan Muslim Community Council, Sheikh Ahmad Hammoud from the Islamic Center of America and Shaykh Mohamed Almasmari with the Muslim Unity Center.

On Monday, Duggan endorsed Biden, telling The Associated Press that Biden “was just a great friend of Detroit” during his time as vice president and he “cares deeply about the city and auto industry and auto workers.”

During his comments to reporters, Biden also took a moment to address remarks from fellow Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) who lambasted Biden’s role in the making of the 1994 Crime Bill, saying that Biden is to blame for a surge of mass incarceration that has disproportionately affected black and Latino communities.

Biden said Booker “knows that (his remarks are) not true,” adding that focus needs to be shifted away from incarceration and consider crime prevention when talking about how to deal with the massive national prison population.

“If he wants to go back and talk about records, I’m happy to do that,” he said. “But I’d rather talk about the future.”

This story was published by Gongwer News Service.