Sanders’ remarks addressed the near-term crisis of the Senate GOP’s bill to dismantle health safety nets and his solution, Medicare-for-all legislation, introduced this month with 16 Democratic co-sponsors. While he called the Cassidy-Graham legislation “cruel” and “immoral,” Sanders also laid out the case for his proposal, which would expand and gradually lower the age that individuals could be covered by Medicare, the federal program for people 65 and older.
“Today, we begin the debate vital to the future of our economy,” he said. “The function of a rational healthcare system is to provide healthcare to all people when they need it, and not to argue with the insurance companies as to whether or not they are covered for the procedures that they paid for. Today, we say to those families in California, Vermont and all over this country, who are spending $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 a year on health insurance, that we know that this is an insane amount of money to be paying in order to protect your families. And we are here to tell you that under a Medicare-for-all single-payer system the cost of health care for the average middle-class family will significantly decline and that family will be much better off than under the current dysfunctional system.”
Sanders also warned the crowd not to believe the coming wave of disinformation defending the status quo.
“Now, my Republican friends will tell you that you may have to pay more in taxes, and depending on your income, that’s true,” he said. “But what they won’t tell you is that you no longer have to pay that $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 a year to the private insurance companies. And today we tell the drug companies, we are sick and tired of being ripped off by your greed . . . And we say to the small business community, get on board Medicare-for-all because it’s going to benefit you substantially.”