Bernie Sanders Says He Would Raise Taxes on the Middle Class During Democratic Debate

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday conceded he would raise taxes on middle class families to pay for universal health care under his administration.

“Yes, they will pay more in taxes, but less in health care than what they pay now,” said the 2020 hopeful during the second night of Democratic debates.

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Sanders made the revelation early on in the evening after citing other ambitious programs he claimed would lower the financial burdens of working Americans, including free college, student debt forgiveness and universal health care.

“We have a new vision for America,” continued the senator, “under that system, by the way, the vast majority of the people in this country will be paying less than the do right now.”

Sanders has long advocated raising taxes across the board to pay for universal health care. During the 2016 election, the candidate told TIME magazine that attacks on his push to raise taxes were a “distortion of reality.”

“What media sometimes does, what my opponent does, what Republicans do, is they really try to take a cheap shot. If you were paying $10,000 in private health insurance and I said to you, guess what, you ain’t going to pay that $10,000 and more, but you’re going to pay $5,000 more in health care premiums, you’d be jumping up and down for joy. You save $5,000 on your health care bills,” Sanders told TIME.

Bernie Sanders Says He Would Raise Taxes on the Middle Class During Democratic Debate