Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., accused President Trump of wanting to “sabotage” the Affordable Care Act after the president threatened to cut off subsidies to insurance companies that make plans purchased through ACA marketplaces more affordable to many low- and middle-income Americans.
“You know, I really think it’s incomprehensible that we have a president of the United States who wants to sabotage health care in America, make life more difficult for millions of people who are struggling now to get the health insurance they need and to pay for that health insurance,” Sanders said in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
In a tweet on Saturday, the president called the subsidies “bailouts” for insurance companies and threatened to end them.
Trump’s tweet was a response to the Republicans’ failure last week to dismantle the ACA, putting the long-promised repeal and replace efforts on hold for the foreseeable future. Friday, Trump said the Republican strategy should be to let the ACA “implode” to pressure Democrats into passing repeal and replace legislation.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Sunday the administration had not come to a decision on whether to halt the subsidies; counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Trump would make that decision this week.
Later in the interview, Sanders said he planned to introduce single-payer health care legislation now that Republicans efforts at health care reform have failed. However when pressed by “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper on how single-payer could be passed nationally after failed attempts in California and his home state of Vermont, Sanders admitted, “Politically, this is difficult.”
“Look, taking on the insurance companies and the drug companies, taking on Wall Street, taking on a lot of very powerful forces that make billions of dollars a year from the current health care system is not going to be easy,” Sanders said. “And it’s not going to take place until millions of people get involved in this struggle and appreciate the fact that whether you’re rich or whether you are poor, health care is a right.”
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