One of the most trusted progressive voices in the senate said Monday evening the effort to improve health care in America will not be over once the Democratic bill passes. In fact, he declared, it’s just the beginning.
“I believe that at the end of the day, what we need is a Medicare-for-all, single payer system,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said on MSNBC’s The Ed Show. “This is far from that. But that fight continues. So, this is a step forward. And let us not underestimate the good in this bill, let’s continue to fight.”
After a year of extensive debates, the resulting legislation has drawn the ire of many progressives, who are upset that it does not expand public alternatives for consumers. But according to Sanders, that isn’t enough of a reason to strike it down.
“The answer is pass this bill and make it better the day after,” Sanders said, citing the Congressional Budget Office’s conclusion that it will cover millions who are uninsured and ban insurers from denying care to sick people and individuals with pre-existing illnesses.
“Let’s not ignore the reality that 31 million more Americans are going to get health insurance,” he said.
A self-described democratic socialist and single-payer champion, Sanders nevertheless declared resolutely that “doing nothing is not an option” and suggested the present bill’s passage would make the nation more likely, not less, to move toward that goal.
“This country cannot accept 45,000 people a year dying because they don’t get to a doctor on time,” he said, adding that “the cost of premiums are going to double” within the next decade, referring to an Urban Institute study cited by host Ed Schultz earlier in the segment.
“What middle class family can sustain that?” Sanders asked.
A study by the consumer advocacy organization U.S. Public Interest Research Group found last January that if reform fails, insurance premiums could conceivable double as soon as 2016, HealthDay News noted. A report by the Commonwealth Fund in August said that under the status quo, health care costs for average Americans are likely double by 2020.
The senator from Vermont last week criticized the White House for spending months trying to fruitlessly court Republican votes, but said President Obama has “final got th[e] message” that it isn’t going to happen.
The GOP remains resolutely opposed to the bill, while progressive activist groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee continue to stress the importance of a public option.
Democrats are just short of the votes they need to push the health care bill past the finish line, party leaders say. Obama’s top aides predicted Sunday that health care reform will pass within the week.
This video is from MSNBC’s The Ed Show, broadcast March 15, 2010.
‘The president isn’t above the law’: Supreme Court expected to rule on two key Trump cases on Thursday
Can Donald Trump refuse to hand over his financial records to Congress and New York prosecutors simply because he is president of the United States? The Supreme Court will rule Thursday on two related cases to answer this, with potentially widespread political implications.
The decision by the nine justices could lift the veil on Trump's finances ahead of the November 3 election.
Unlike all of his predecessors since Richard Nixon in the 1970s, New York real estate mogul Trump refused to release his tax returns, despite promising to do so during his 2016 White House campaign.
Trump made his fortune a key component of that campaign, and his lack of transparency raises questions about his true worth and possible conflicts of interest.
Australia offers safe haven to Hong Kongers, sparking China fury
Australia offered pathways to permanent residency for thousands of people from Hong Kong on Thursday in response to China's crackdown on dissent, drawing a furious reply from Beijing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was suspending its extradition agreement with the city and, in addition to extending the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers already in the country, threw open the door to thousands more wanting to start a new life Down Under.
Morrison said the decisions were taken in response to China's imposition last week of a tough new security law in Hong Kong, which he said "constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances" for the semi-autonomous territory.
‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera missing, feared drowned
"Glee" star Naya Rivera is missing and feared drowned at a California lake, local officials said, with rescuers to continue a search for her on Thursday.
The Ventura County Sheriff's office earlier tweeted it was looking for a "possible drowning victim" at the lake, and said a dive team was being deployed to the area.
Rivera, 33, is best known for her role as high school cheerleader Santana Lopez in "Glee", the TV series that she starred in for six seasons.
She rented a boat on Wednesday to take her four-year-old son onto Lake Piru, northwest of Los Angeles, local media cited the County Sheriff as saying.