Bernie Sanders Dubs Pivotal Health Care Bill Failure A “Great Victory” For Millions
After two more Republican senators expressed their opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act on Monday night, Senator Bernie Sanders responded to the health care bill's failure, calling it a "victory for the millions who stood up and fought back."
"In this country we should not be throwing millions off of health insurance. We should be guaranteeing health care for all as a right," Sanders said in a Tweet just moments after Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas announced that they would vote against the GOP health care bill.
Although the latest version of the BCRA has not yet been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, reports on previous versions estimated that the new health care plan could cause up to 22 million Americans to lose access to health insurance.
The BCRA proposed to cut Medicaid spending by up to 35 percent. Additionally, an amendment to the bill would allow insurance companies to sell bare-bones insurance plans as long as they offer at least one plan that offers comprehensive coverage. Experts worry that this would cause many to purchase cheap insurance with low premiums while putting themselves at risk of paying high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for care.
Sanders, who made "insurance for all" a central tenant of his 2016 presidential campaign, has been an outspoken critic of all GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. He has called on Republican Senators to oppose the bill in its current form, and has hosted rallies against the GOP health care bill in the traditionally red states of Kentucky and West Virginia.
But according to Sanders' Monday night statement, the "victory" against the health care bill does not belong to him, but to the "millions" who have expressed their opposition to the bill through rallies, sit-ins, and vocal town hall meetings.
On Monday, dozens of protestors stormed to the Hart Senate Office on Capitol Hill to voice their opposition to the bill — and over 30 of them were arrested. Dozens of disability advocates and individuals with disabilities have also participated in nationwide protests in recent weeks to express how people with pre-existing conditions would be affected by the bill.
"Die-ins" have also been organized across the country to represent the number of people who could lose their lives as a result of losing insurance coverage — even though one GOP congressman has claimed that "nobody dies because they don't have access to health care."
Monday's announcement is certainly reason for Sanders and other BCRA opponents to celebrate, but the GOP push to repeal-and-replace Obamacare is far from over. President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that they now plan to vote to repeal Obamacare before agreeing on a replacement. Still, it's safe to say that Sanders isn't done fighting back.