With the defeat of Trumpcare still smoldering on the congressional battlefield, Bernie Sanders is fighting the good fight to better the American healthcare system.
In a town hall meeting in his home state of Vermont, Senator Sanders vowed to introduce a new single-payer, “Medicare for All” bill in the Senate “within a couple of weeks”. According to Vermont Public Radio, the hundreds of attendees at the town hall broke into “thunderous applause” at the announcement.
Representative Peter Welch (D-VT), who also attended the gathering with Vermont constituents, promised that he would introduce the same bill in the House.
The Trump administration suffered a major defeat on Friday when the Republican-drafted replacement for Obamacare was pulled from a vote on the House floor at the last minute once it was apparent that it was headed towards an ignominious loss.
Republicans have voted to repeal Obamacare over 50 times in the seven years since it was initially enacted, but have failed to accomplish their promised “repeal and replace” mantra, despite controlling both houses of Congress and the White House.
The Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is officially known, provided health insurance to over 20 million more people than had been insured prior to its enactment and slowed the rise in premium increases dramatically.
The replacement bill Republicans offered would have led to 24 million people losing their insurance and, according to estimates by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, would have resulted in higher premiums and deductibles while covering less than existing plans.
Ironically, the bill failed because ultra-conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus felt that it didn’t go far enough in removing benefits required to be included by insurance companies when issuing policies.
The reaction of the general public to the bill was even worse with only 17% of voters supporting it after realizing what a miserable deal the Republican proposal would be for them, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.
Senator Sanders believes that his new universal health care plan will appeal even to voters who supported Trump, who pushed for the failed Republican bill despite promising “something terrific” as an Obamacare replacement.
“It is a commonsense proposal, and I think once the American people understand it, we can go forward with it,” Sanders said after the town hall meeting.
Economists have predicted that a bill like Senator Sanders is proposing would save America billions of dollars in its first year alone due to elimination of insurance company overhead charges and the bargaining power a single-payer solution would give in negotiating with drug manufacturers.
Those savings alone would more than pay for the cost of giving every single American the health coverage that they deserve and help them catch up with the rest of the world.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.