Bernie Sander is simply making sense
Senator Bernie Sanders likely gave Republicans attempting to overturn the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare heartburn during a recent full committee hearing of the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pension. It turns out that all three witnesses saw merit to Senator Bernie Sanders’ desire for true Universal Healthcare decoupled from the employer. The panel included Dr. Betsy Webb , Superintendent, Bangor School Department, Bangor, ME, Mr. Andrew F. Puzder , Chief Executive Officer, CKE Restaurants, Carpinteria, CA, and Mr. Joe Fugere , Founder, Tutta Bella Pizzeria, Seattle, WA.
Senator Sanders started his questioning by first stating a few notables. He said if the senate hearing was being televised internationally, no one internationally would know “what the hell we’re talking about. Because in every major country in this world whether it is 100 miles away where I live in Burlington Vermont or throughout Europe or throughout Scandinavia people would literally not understand one word of this discussion. The argument of whether you provide health insurance for people who work thirty hours a week or whether they work forty hours a week, wow! In every major country on earth healthcare is a right of all people — one hundred miles from where I live under a Conservative prime minister in Canada.”
Senator Sanders also reminded the hearing that Americans pay twice more for health care than the 2nd most expensive health care in the world.
“So Mr. Chairman, this is a very interesting discussion but we are not discussing what is relevant,” Senator Bernie Sanders said. “What’s relevant is should health care be a right of all people or should businesses, Mr. Fugere, and the others have to spend a great deal of time and energy figuring out how they provide health care to their people or how they do not. If we did what virtually every major country on Earth did and say that health care is a right of all people, not a right for a business. We have the absurd situation where Mr. Fugere feels that his moral responsibility is to provide good health care for his workers. Thank you very much for that. But the guy who owns the pizzeria across the street may not feel the same way. And you are at a competitive disadvantage because you are doing the right thing.”
Senator Sanders then asked the panel what it would do for their respective businesses not to have to worry about the health care of their employees at all and concentrate on their products and services. Both the Democrat on the panel and the two Republicans agreed it would make things better.
In effect a panel that held to show Obamacare is not working or needs repealing showed how much further it needs to go. It showed that when a sensible discussion is held with real employers a common answer can be reached. When a common answer is reached one can develop much more effective policy.
As I said many times before, Obamacare is just the first step towards the only effective method to pay for healthcare, a single payer system, Medicare for all. That is why Republicans are fighting it as hard as they are. They see the end to a system where the health care consumer can be fleeced for the profit of a few.