Earlier this week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced his “Medicare for All” bill, a single-payer health care plan. In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, the Vermont Senator said that the bill is not a “radical idea.” However, it is far from his 1987 stance on the issue when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont.
In a series called, ‘Bernie Speaks with the Community,’ the then-mayor would bring on guests to debate political issues. In a segment on health care, Sanders explained why universal health care would “bankrupt the nation.”
In the video, Sanders said that he is not an expert on health care, but thinks the solution is guaranteed access to care. However, he then admits why the approach wouldn’t work, and goes into specifics on how a single-payer option would financially cripple the country.
“But I think what we understand is that unless we change the funding system and the control mechanism in this country to do that,” Sanders said. “For example, if we expanded Medicaid [to] everybody. Give everybody a Medicaid card – we would be spending such an astronomical sum of money that, you know, we would bankrupt the nation.”
In contrast to his 1987 stance, Sanders introduced a universal health care plan, which, if passed, would phase in coverage for all ages over four years. So far, 16 Democrats have co-signed in support of the bill. It is unlikely to pass in a Republican-controlled House, Senate, and White House, however, it will likely be used by Democrats as a healthcare solution in the upcoming midterm elections.
Conservatives have dismissed Sanders’ bill. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it a “horrible idea.” Additionally, President Trump tweeted a response to the plan, and on Thursday, told reporters that a single-payer system would be “a terrible thing for our country.”