AP FACT CHECK: Examining claims from 2020 Democratic debate

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Democratic presidential candidates from left, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and businessman Tom Steyer stand on stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

WASHINGTON, DC – Seven Democratic presidential contenders tangled Thursday night in the last debate of the year, hard on the heels of President Donald Trump's impeachment.

How some of their claims compare with the facts:

BERNIE SANDERS, on Biden's proposed health care plan: “Under Joe’s plan we retain essentially the status quo.”

JOE BIDEN: “That’s not true.”

THE FACTS: It’s not as simple as their lively exchange implies, but Biden is correct that his plan would go far beyond the “status quo.”

Sanders’ name is practically synonymous with “Medicare for All,” a tax-financed, government-run system that would cover all U.S. residents while doing away with private insurance.

Biden, a former vice president, has proposed building on “Obamacare,” adding a Medicare-like “public option” that any U.S. citizen or legal resident could opt for.

The U.S. has a hybrid health care system, that balanced between private coverage through employers, as well as government coverage through programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Biden would retain a mix of private and public coverage, so in a sense that’s the “status quo.”