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Flashback: That Time Bernie Sanders Said Medicaid-For-All Would Bankrupt The Country

So, we all know Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is really, really into universal health care. He’s your run-of-the-mill democratic socialist. He loves citing Europe for how they were able to accomplish this aspect of social policy (somewhat). He says we should be ashamed that we’re the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t cover all of their citizens with health insurance. Now, fresh off the enthusiasm he received on the 2016 campaign trail, he wants to push single-payer health care. It’s becoming something of a litmus test for Democrats running for office, especially in the Democratic People’s Republic of California. He has 15 co-sponsors for his Medicare-for-All bill that will institute a single-payer system. Yet, let’s rewind the clock to 1987 when Sanders, then the mayor of Burlington, was commenting on Medicare’s brother, Medicaid—a government-run health care program for the working poor—where he said expanding that to a universal program would bankrupt the nation (via NTK Network) [emphasis mine]:


“One of the points that we understand and I think was reinforced when we went to Canada,” Sanders told Dr. Miltion Terris, “Number one, you want to guarantee that all people have access to healthcare as you do in Canada.”

Sanders continued, doubting that America’s system could handle such a change.

“But I think what we understand is that unless we change the funding system and the control mechanism in this country to do that,” he 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.”

Who is this person and what has he done with Bernie Sanders? In the meantime, there are plenty of other reasons to oppose any single-payer system besides the economic burden, which is substantial. The amount in taxes--the price tag for this proposal is $32 trillion--and the reduced access to specialized care, drugs, and other treatments to reduce costs is another area of concern. It's just bad policy. On paper, it may seem sound. When it comes to application, it's quite a nightmare. 


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