Florida retirees worry Sanders’ health care plan could hit wallets

2020 Democratic field has narrowed to a two-man race between Sanders and Joe Biden

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersMedicare-for-all proposal is sparking controversy among retirees in the all-important battleground state of Florida.

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Two out of 10 Florida residents are over 65 years old and 8.4 million residents receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits. However, some Floridians aren't thrilled with the health care plan proposed by Sanders, who vowed on Wednesday to continue his 2020 presidential bid despite losing primaries in Michigan and three other states the night before.

Some retirees living at the Vi Aventura retirement community in Aventura, Florida – just north of Miami – worry about what Medicare-for-all would mean for them.

“I get scared at the thought of universal health care because statistics show it's much too expensive,” resident Susan Shovers told FOX Business. Her husband, Alan Shovers, added: “Somebody is going to have to pay the price, could be the seniors.”

Other residents, like Miette Burnstein, say some candidates aren’t considering the cost a policy like Medicare-for-all would have on seniors.

“When you talk about Medicare you don't want all the old people paying for all the young people who don’t need it … We want all the Medicare for us because we're old. And we need it,” Burnstein said.

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Right now, the 2020 Democratic field has narrowed to what is essentially a two-man race between Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. Florida residents will vote in the state’s Democratic primary on March 17.

Sanders wants to scrap private plans in favor of expanding health coverage to everyone.

“Whether they like it or not, we will pass a Medicare-for-all single-payer program,” Sanders said at a rally in Minnesota.

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Biden, who stood alongside former President Barack Obama when he signed the Affordable Care Act, wants to add to the health care legislation instead of scrapping it.

“What we can't afford to do, is tear it all down,” Biden told reporters in South Carolina.

A poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 56 percent of Americans support Medicare for all. But when poll participants were told a government-controlled health care system could mean delays in care and higher taxes, support dropped to 26 percent.

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Ben Pollara, a Florida Democratic strategist told FOX Business that the progressive approach to health care reform doesn’t play well in the Sunshine State, particularly because the state has many residents who are covered by ObamaCare and don’t want to lose their health insurance.

“Whether the ultimate goal is that or not, that's what Medicare-for-all presents to most people is … we're just going to tear the whole thing up and start new.”

Right now, experts don't know exactly how much Medicare-for-all would cost. Studies say it could be as little as $13 trillion or as much as $36 trillion over a decade.

Some young voters in Florida - supporting Medicare for all – don't care – about the cost.

“Some people can't afford it, some people can, but we should make it affordable for those who can't,” Hannah Yazdani, a Florida International University student, told FOX Business.

Jamila Floyd, also a student at FIU, added: “I feel like the other countries like England – they already have it and I feel like they don't really worry about the cost. I don't really hear any negatives about it.”

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But the calculations go beyond just money – it’s jobs too. Economists at the University of Massachusetts estimate that Medicare-for-all would put 1.8 million health care workers out of work.

And some Democrats in Florida are signaling warning signs in the state.

“Whoever the candidate is who wants to blow up the current insurance system has a disadvantage ... and I think in 2020 that's going to be Bernie Sanders,” Pollara said.