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U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders takes the stage on the first night of t…

‘I wrote the damn bill.’ Sanders defends ‘Medicare for All’ proposal in 2020 debate

The latest Democratic presidential debate has opened with a lengthy argument over the variety of health care proposals that have become a sticking point between centrists and progressives.

WATCH: 2020 Democrats remain divided on health care proposals

Sen. Bernie Sanders began what became a series of exchanges among all 10 candidates on stage in Detroit by telling former Rep. John Delaney “you’re wrong” over a previous characterization of his “Medicare for All” proposal. Delaney had referred to the plan as “political suicide.”

Universal health coverage has been a cornerstone of both of Sanders’ presidential campaigns. He noted that countries like Canada have lower health care costs.

Challenged by Rep. Tim Ryan on a point, Sanders retorted, “I wrote the damn bill.”

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have cast the Democrats’ reform plans as extreme.

READ MORE: In 2020, Democrats say they’ll negotiate on values as long as they beat Trump