This week, Senator Bernie Sanders has been firing on all cylinders as hecontinues his advocacy for real healthcare reform that controls costswhile extending quality care to every American. Monday he held a townmeeting in Burlington to discuss what we can learn from other countries thathave developed cost effective universal health care systems. On Tuesdayhe met with President Obama along with other members of the Finance and Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committees responsible for drafting the Senate’s healthcare legislation. Yesterday he arranged a meeting between single-payer advocates and Finance Chair Max Baucus–Baucus had previously not only denied them a seat at the table for his hearings but even had some arrested.
I had the opportunity to speak with Senator Sanders this evening as hetook a brief break from ongoing discussions within the HELP Committee,and prior to his making the case for single-payer on The Ed Show (a caseSchultz has featured on his five-night-a-week MSNBC program and in town halls across the country). This is what the Senator had to say:
Q: Tell me about the purpose of the meeting with Senator Baucus today?
Senator Sanders: The truth of the matter is–and I say this notideologically but just from an objective analysis of the health caresituation–the only way you’re gonna provide comprehensive, universal,and cost-effective healthcare to every man, woman, and child in thiscountry is through a single-payer system. That’s just a simple reality. And the reason for that is that to pay for universal comprehensivehealthcare you have to deal with the enormous amount of waste that iscurrently within the private health insurance industry. The estimate isabout $400 billion a year in administrative costs, in billing, inprofits, in CEO compensation, in advertising–all of those thingswhich have nothing to do with the provision of healthcare…
In California, my understanding is that 1 out of every 3 dollars ofpremiums goes to administration. If we are gonna address the very rapidand dangerous increase in healthcare [costs], then the only way to do that is through a single-payer system which wrings out all of the waste that private health insurance creates.