Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) slammed Senate Republicans’ bill to repeal Obamacare as a “barbaric” plan that means thousands will die so the wealthy can get billions of dollars in tax breaks.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Sanders about his statement Thursday that the Republican health care plan is the “most harmful piece of legislation” he’s seen in his lifetime.
“It is an extraordinary statement because this is an extraordinary piece of legislation,” Sanders replied. “If you throw 23 million people off of health insurance, if you cut Medicaid by over $800 billion dollars, there is no question but that thousands of Americans will die.”
Sanders added, “The purpose of this whole legislation — of raising premiums for older workers, of defunding Planned Parenthood ... is to provide $500 billion in tax breaks for the top 2 percent, for the insurance companies, for the drug companies and other major corporations.”
“This is barbaric,” he said. “Frankly, this is what oligarchy is all about. It’s the wealthy and powerful saying, ‘We need even more tax breaks’ — despite the fact that they’re doing phenomenally well — and if it means people in America dying ... ‘Hey, that’s not our problem.’”
Sanders acknowledged that premiums, deductibles and copays are currently “too high” under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. (The Senate’s Trumpcare proposal isn’t expected to lower deductibles.) But he added that prices are rising because the Trump administration is “sabotaging” Obamacare, and the system will not be improved by ejecting millions who rely on it, including children.
“I don’t care what your political view is,” Sanders said. “I don’t think there are many Americans who think that we give unbelievably large tax breaks to billionaires, and then tell disabled kids or people who are in nursing homes today ... that we’re going to punish them to give tax breaks to billionaires. Man, that is not what this country is supposed to be about.”
To hear more from Sanders, watch the video above.