Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) town hall on Medicare for All drew more than one million online viewers in addition to the hundreds of attendees who packed an auditorium at the U.S. Capitol to capacity.
Thank you to the 1.1 million people who tuned in live to the first-ever national Medicare for All town hall tonight. Together we will successfully move the United States to a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care system and guarantee health care to all.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 24, 2018
Speaking with multiple panels featuring single-payer healthcare advocates and experts—including Dr. Don Berwick, who oversaw Medicare and Medicaid under President Barack Obama—Sanders moderated a nearly two-hour discussion about the failures of the current U.S. healthcare system and how its costs and outcomes compare to those in countries with universal healthcare.
When Sanders asked Berwick whether there is any legitimate economic reason not to expand Medicare to all Americans, he replied, "No, there's no reason. It's just will."
"You can stand up for people," Berwick added. "Why wouldn’t we do that for all Americans, not just people over 65?"
.@BernieSanders: It’s difficult to defend a system in which:— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) January 24, 2018
30 million people have ZERO health insurance
Even more are underinsured
Healthcare outcomes are not good
Life expectancy not particularly high
We spend twice as much as other countries#MedicareForAll Now! pic.twitter.com/foP3kJ1MXq
The discussion also covered the economic impact of Medicare for All. While Republicans have spent years pushing the narrative about high tax rates as a result of government-funded healthcare, owners of businesses large and small explained to the national audience the increasingly heavy financial burden that the for-profit system is putting on both their companies and their employees.
#MedicareForAll Historic National Town Hall— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) January 24, 2018
Medicare for All is Better for Business
“Let’s control healthcare costs. Let’s do what the rest of the industrialized world does, let us pass a #SinglePayer healthcare system.” @BernieSanders pic.twitter.com/Q1IuFtTfdW
In his closing remarks, Sanders noted that a town hall broadcast exclusively online was necessary to provide viewers with the facts on Medicare for All. Although 53 percent of Americans now support government-funded healthcare for all, he said, corporate media outlets hardly cover the issue.
"The reason we're doing this program tonight is you don't see this stuff," he said. "It ain't gonna be on CBS. It ain't gonna be on NBC. What astounds me is we already have a pretty good majority of the American people who already believe in universal health care, believe that it is the government's responsibility to make sure that health care is a right. And we have reached that stage with media not talking about the issue at all."
Historic #MedicareForAll Town Hall— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) January 24, 2018
“This is the first national town hall taking place outside of corporate media interests../Let me guarantee you this, this event will not be interrupted by commercials by the drug companies, Wall Street or drug companies!” @BernieSanders pic.twitter.com/TCMVQA5LBs