Sen. Bernie Sanders has never been shy about speaking his mind. In fact the Democratic senator has never been one to mice words when it comes to speaking out against legislation, policy, and even his fellow Washington politicians. Most recently, Sen. Sanders has been fiercely critical of House Republicans' American Health Care Act, slamming the bill as a threat to Americans' health care access.
"If the bill passed today in the House became law, thousands of Americans would die, because they would no longer have access to health care," Sanders said Friday in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN's AC360.
The Vermont senator and former presidential hopeful went on to question how supporters of the AHCA, which passed through the House of Representatives in a narrow 217-213 vote Thursday, could continue to refer to the legislation as a health care bill. "It is wrong to talk about what happened in the House today as a health care bill. This was not a health care bill," Sanders told Cooper. "What kind of health care bill are we talking about when you throw 24 million people off of health insurance, substantially raise premiums for older workers, [and] defund Planned Parenthood."
Instead Sanders characterized the AHCA as legislation that handed the country's wealthiest two percent some $300 billion in tax breaks at a time when income inequality is already a massive problem. The senator also accused House Republicans of "consciously sabotaging" former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act by not enforcing the individual mandate and allowing major health care companies to pull out of Obamacare exchanges in an attempt to damage the system and use the resulting problems as justification for repealing.
But Sanders appeared confident the AHCA passed in the House on Thursday would never make it past the Senate. "Let me break the bad news to the president," Sanders said on AC360. "Mr. President, I am sorry to disappoint you. This bill in its current form is not getting through the Senate. No way, no way."
Sanders, a vocal critic of Republicans' efforts to repeal Obamacare, slammed the AHCA as "cruel" and "an absolute disaster" in a statement released shortly after the bill narrowly passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday. "Our job now is to rally millions of Americans against this cruel bill to make sure that it does not pass the Senate," he said. "We must guarantee health care as a right to every American."