Bernie Sanders Responds To The AHCA Failure & Says Democrats Should Take The Credit
If the progressive left has a single prominent voice in Congress right now, its Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The longtime liberal firebrand exploded into the public consciousness as a 2016 presidential candidate, inspiring huge crowds and injecting a strong progressive agenda into the political mainstream. And he urged the Democrats to take their fair share of credit on Friday, after the collapse of the Republican Obamacare replacement bill ― Sanders responded to the AHCA failure on CNN, telling Anderson Cooper that the controversial bill was "exactly what the American people did not want."
Specifically, Sanders noted the abysmal polling numbers for the AHCA. Just days prior to its abandonment, an unthinkably low 17 percent of voters supported the bill, according to a Quinnipiac poll. In short, it was a deeply unpopular piece of legislation, in addition to having insufficient appeal to the various factions of the GOP House membership.
Here's how Sanders put it to Cooper, who asked how he felt to hear Trump blaming the Democrats for the bill's failure, citing the fact that they stood completely unified in opposition. Suffice to say Sanders didn't take that as an insult ― to the contrary, that kind of unified opposition was exactly what he wanted to see.
My response is, that's exactly what the American people wanted. The American people understood that this is not a health care bill, Anderson; this was a $300 billion tax break for the top two percent, massive tax breaks for the drug companies and for the insurance companies, and threw 24 million people off of health insurance; defunded Planned Parenthood, significantly raised premiums for older workers, and cut Medicaid by $880 billion. Poll after poll showed that is exactly what the American people did not want, and Democrats should take credit for killing a really, really bad piece of legislation.
Anderson followed up, asking who was responsible for the bill not getting passed (in fact, not even coming to the floor for a vote). Sanders dismissed the line of questioning, however, referring to it as "just a media game."
Anderson, that's just a media game. Nobody really cares that it's a failure of Trump, or a failure of Ryan. What the American people are asking is how does it happen that we are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right. Anderson, I am talking to you tonight 50 miles away from the Canadian border, you get there in an hour. They manage to provide health care for every man, woman, and child in their country at half the cost per person than we do. The cost of prescription drugs in Canada, significantly lower than it is in the United States. So the question is, why are we not moving forward with a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program guaranteeing health care to all people, which will be much more cost effective than what we presently have.
Sanders, for his part, is following through on the gameplan he proposed on Cooper's show ― he reportedly told an assembled crowd at a Hardwick, Vermont, town hall Saturday that he plans to introduce a Medicare-for-all bill in the U.S. Senate in the near future.