WASHINGTON, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Progressives of the Democratic Party were targeted by moderate rivals on the issue of healthcare during the first night of the party's second 2020 primary debates in Detroit, Michigan on Tuesday.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, answering the first question of the night, called the nation's healthcare system "dysfunctional."
"The fact of the matter is, tens of millions of people lose their health insurance every single year when they change jobs or their employer changes that insurance," said the self-described democratic socialist and progressive. "If you want stability in the healthcare system ... the answer is to get rid of the profits of the drug companies."
Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, who disagrees with Sanders on the issue, said that he has a proposal to create "a universal healthcare system to give everyone basic healthcare for free."
"But we don't have to go around and be the party of subtraction and telling half the country with private health insurance their health insurance is illegal," he said.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock, another moderate rival, said that he "won't support any plan that rips away quality healthcare from individuals."
"This is an example of wish-list economics," he said. "It used to be Republicans that wanted to repeal and replace, now many Democrats do as well. We can get there with the public option, negotiating drug prices."
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts defended Sanders, her progressive ally, while urging discussions "about how to best provide that healthcare."
Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio made appeals to union workers on healthcare while taking a shot at Sanders and Warren.
"This plan being offered by Senator Warren and Senator Sanders will tell the union members, who gave away wages in order to get good healthcare, that they will lose their healthcare because Washington is going to come in and tell them they have a better plan," Ryan said.
Five other contenders also attended the debate for the party's nomination to challenge President Donald Trump, who took office in 2017 and recently launched his re-election campaign.
Tuesday night's showdown, which lasted more than two and a half hours, also saw heated debates on issues including immigration, climate change, economy and trade, gun violence, race, and education.
Ten more Democrats, including Joe Biden, former vice president of the United States, and California Senator Kamala Harris, will take the stage on Wednesday night for their face-off.
According to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll, Biden is currently favored by 34 percent of Democrats and independent voters nationwide, leading the next three forerunners by a large margin.
Warren, gathering 15 percent of votes, was placed second. Harris won 12 percent, closely followed by Sanders.