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Bernie Sanders and Nurses Tell Obama: Embrace Single-Payer Health Care

Sanders: We need to tell Obama that if he suppors a single-payer system, "he will have the backing of tens and tens of millions of Americans."

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And you've got to bite the bullet and say, number one, are all -- should all Americans be entitled to healthcare as a right? And Obama believes that. I believe that. Most Americans believe that. And then the second question is, if we believe that, what is the most cost-effective way of going forward? And to my view, this is a conservative perspective. If you're interested in saving money, the most cost-effective way is a single-payer system, because the administrative costs, in terms of a program like Medicare or the Veterans Administration, is substantially less than what the private insurance companies are doing.

 

Goodman: Well, you're pushing on the issue of single-payer healthcare; he's also getting pushed from other places. On Sunday, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa put out this message on Twitter. He tweeted, quote, "Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us 'time to deliver' on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND." I'm quoting exactly as he wrote this. Later in the day, Senator Grassley added, "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL." Your response, Senator Sanders?

 

Sanders: Well, I think it's -- you know, the President of the United States is also dealing with major international crises, has a right to go abroad. I think that's an unfair criticism from Senator Grassley. On the other hand, what is important is that we get this right. This is a huge issue for the American people and for our economy. And I would rather get it right than get it passed within a certain deadline.

 

Goodman: Can you explain what this public option is that is being crafted by Senator Kennedy, Senator Baucus, when -- by the way, when Barack Obama was at a town hall meeting in New Mexico, someone stood up and said, "Why aren't you weighing single-payer?" President Obama responded, "If we were starting from scratch, I would say that was the best suggestion." But she also said, "Isn't Senator Baucus -- wouldn't you call it a conflict of interest that he gets so much money from the health insurance industry?"

 

Sanders: Well, it's not just Senator Baucus. I mean, let's be very clear, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the medical equipment suppliers, they have hundreds of lobbyists. They've spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years getting their way. And that is what the --

Goodman: Your analysis of Senator Kennedy's bill?

 

Sanders: It is -- first of all, it's in flux. As soon as I leave this program, I'm going to be going to a meeting where we continue to discuss it. But bottom line, at the very least, what we need is a strong public option, which essentially would mean an expanded Medicare program that anybody in America could get into, regardless of their age.

 

Goodman: And Rose Ann DeMoro, the Kennedy option that is put forward and your assessment of that?

DeMoro: I think our assessment is -- excuse me -- that he's trying to achieve a smaller hole in the parachute. I mean, I think, at the end of the day, this isn't going to work. And what's going to happen -- the Republicans, by the way, in terms of Grassley, they're going to fight a public option just as hard as they would fight single payer. I mean, this is the insurance companies' influence in politics. And so, you know, Barack Obama is going to come under the same severe type of criticism, whether he tweaks their system or whether he overhauls it. I think that, you know, the truth of the matter is, Barack Obama knows better, and he is choosing not to act. And that's what's puzzling to us.

 
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