Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden said that if a "Medicare for All" bill got to his desk as president, it would not automatically earn his signature.
"I would veto anything that delays providing the security and the certainty of health care being available now," Mr. Biden, the Democratic presidential front-runner, said in an interview that aired Monday evening on MSNBC. "If they got that through and by some miracle there was an epiphany that occurred and some miracle occurred that said, OK, it's passed, then you got to look at the cost."
"I want to know, how did they find $35 trillion? What is that doing? Is it going to significantly raise taxes on the middle class, which it will? What's going to happen?" he said.
Mr. Biden went on to say that health care should be a "right" in the United States.
"My opposition relates to whether or not, A, it's doable, two, what the cost is, and what the consequences for the rest of the budget are," the former vice president said.
"How are you going to find $35 trillion over the next 10 years without having profound impacts on everything from taxes for middle-class and working-class people as well as the impact on the rest of the budget?" he said.
Mr. Biden has portrayed the Medicare for All universal health care proposal from Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, his top rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, as too costly and unrealistic.
The former vice president has said throughout the campaign that he wants to build on Obamacare instead. Mr. Biden's health plan includes a "public option" that would compete with private insurance plans.