Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"If we are serious about moving to a cost-effective universal healthcare, yeah, we do have to take on the insurance companies," Sanders said.

"If we are serious about moving to a cost-effective universal healthcare, yeah, we do have to take on the insurance companies," Sanders said. (Photo: CNN/Screengrab)

Sanders-Klobuchar Shred GOP Cruelty in Lopsided Debate Against Graham-Cassidy

The debate came shortly after Susan Collins announced her opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill, a blow to the GOP's Obamacare repeal efforts that may ultimately prove to be fatal

Jake Johnson

Shortly following Sen. Susan Collins' (R-Maine) announcement that she plans to vote against the latest iteration of Trumpcare—likely dealing a death blow to deeply unpopular legislation that was already teetering on the edge of collapse—Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) piled it on the GOP Monday night in a CNN-hosted debate against the principal architects of the floundering bill, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

"Our job as a humane society is to do a couple of things," Sanders said in the heat of a dispute with Cassidy over his bill's proposed cuts to Medicaid. "It's not to throw 30 million people off of health insurance. It's to do what every other major country on Earth does, guarantee healthcare to all people as a right. That's what we should be doing."

As Common Dreams reported last week, many Democratic officials and pundits expressed concerns about Sanders' decision to partipate in Monday's debate, worrying that his push for Medicare for All would distract from the immediate task of defeating Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Sanders quickly proved these warnings to be entirely unfounded, however, as he deftly weaved between discussing the necessity of defeating the GOP's deeply unpopular plan, passing short-term fixes to Obamacare, and fighting for an ambitious alternative, embodied in the Medicare for All bill he—along with 16 Democratic co-sponsors—introduced earlier this month.

Though Klobuchar is one of the Democratic senators who has not sponsored Sanders' bill, the two senators aligned in defense of Planned Parenthood, Medicaid, and key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that protect people with preexisting conditions.

"If we are serious about moving to a cost-effective universal healthcare, yeah, we do have to take on the insurance companies."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
"One in five women get their healthcare from Planned Parenthood. And I am strongly opposed to this bill's provisions to defund Planned Parenthood," Klobuchar said, adding also a defense of the ACA's essential benefits requirements.

Republicans, Sanders added, "want to tell 2.5 million women in the United States of America who today choose Planned Parenthood to get their healthcare they can't do that."

While much of the debate centered around Sanders' and Klobuchar's critique of the GOP's "absurd" bill and Graham's rebuttal that Medicare for All—and even tweaks to Obamacare—amounts to creeping socialism, there was at least one point of agreement: the current healthcare system puts too much money in the pockets of massive insurance companies.

After Graham rattled off the stock increases of insurance giants like Cigna, Anthem, and Aetna, Sanders replied: "See, Lindsey, there it is. You actually said something that was right."

"This system is designed to make billions of dollars in profits for the insurance industry," Sanders concluded. "So if we are serious about moving to a cost-effective universal healthcare, yeah, we do have to take on the insurance companies. They do not play a role in providing healthcare. Our money should be going to doctors, to nurses, to hospitals, not to the insurance industry or, in fact, the drug industry, which is charging us by far the highest prices in the world."

Watch:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Report on Revolving Door and Tax Policy Sparks Calls for Federal Probe and Reforms

"This is an example of terrible management in the Treasury Department across multiple administrations."

Jessica Corbett ·


Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

"Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins," said one labor writer. "May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere."

Jessica Corbett ·


'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·


Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo