Sen. Bernie Sanders called the Senate Republican healthcare bill, the details of which were released on Thursday, “barbaric” and promised to introduce Medicare-for-all legislation during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Sanders tweeted on Thursday that the bill, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), is “the most harmful piece of legislation I’ve seen in my lifetime.”
Cooper asked him to elaborate on that claim.
“If you throw 23 million people off of health insurance, if you cut Medicaid by over $800 billion, there is no question, but that thousands of Americans will die,” Sanders said. “This is barbaric. Frankly, this is what oligarchy is all about.”
In response to the Republicans’ argument that Obamacare is destined to fail due to increasing premiums and healthcare costs, Sanders admitted that the healthcare law is flawed, but argued that the GOP is deliberately “sabotaging” it, and that the replacement GOP bill would reverse all the gains made by President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.
“If you talk to the insurance industry, what they will tell you is that [President Donald] Trump and the Republican leadership are sabotaging the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “Nobody denies that premiums are too high, that deductibles and copayments are too high.”
Sanders went on to say that in order to solve the Obamacare’s long term problems, Congress must pass new legislation that guarantees government-sponsored health insurance to every American who needs it. He said that he will introduce “Medicare-for-all” legislation in the “near future.”
Throughout the 2016 campaign and Trump’s time in office, Sanders, a former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, has pressured the president to keep his promise to protect Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
In January, Sanders brought a blown up print out of a tweet sent by then-candidate Trump in which he boasted that he was the “first & only” Republican presidential candidate to vow to prevent any defunding of Medicaid and other social programs that primarily benefit the elderly and the poor.
Trump’s May 2015 tweet read: “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.”