In reaction to President Donald Trump's op-ed on Wednesday—titled, "Democrats 'Medicare for All' plan will demolish promises to seniors"—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) responded in a sensible and honest way by calling the president a liar.
"No, Mr. President. Our proposal would not cut benefits for seniors on Medicare. In fact, we expand benefits."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)And though Sanders did not actually verbatim say "Trump is a liar," he did declare in a video response posted to social media that Trump "has lied today" as he pointed out the "19 blatant lies" contained in the president's piece.
"I know, I know this shocking," Sanders states sarcastically in the video, referring to Trump's untruths and misrepresentations about the Medicare for All bill the senator introduced last year.
"I find it doubly ironic," Sanders adds, "that not only is Trump lying again, but this guy who proposed and fought for cutting 32 millions Americans from the healthcare they currently have, by eliminating the affordable care act; this president, who in his last budget proposed a trillion dollar cut in Medicaid and a $500 billion cut in Medicare, this president is now acting like he cares at all about healthcare for seniors or anybody else."
Not only is Trump lying about Medicare for All. This president, who fought to throw 32 million Americans off of health insurance, is acting like he cares about health care for seniors or anyone else. pic.twitter.com/RXLXIpMsr4
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 10, 2018
While Trump's op-ed is a blatant effort to frighten seniors into thinking an expansion of Medicare would somehow hurt them or their coverage, Sanders countered by saying this assertion is an outright falsehood.
"No, Mr. President," Sanders declared in a statement. "Our proposal would not cut benefits for seniors on Medicare. In fact, we expand benefits. Millions of seniors today cannot afford the dental care, vision care or hearing aids they desperately need because Medicare does not cover these vitally important needs. Our proposal covers them. In addition, Medicare for All would eliminate deductibles and copays for seniors, and significantly lower the cost of prescription drugs."
As Dr. Carol Paris, president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), tweeted:
I’m one of those Seniors @realDonaldTrump is so worried about protecting. Protect me from profiteering Medicare Advantage plans that defraud our beloved Medicare! This Senior supports #Medicare4All! https://t.co/INoZ7TzHra
— Dr. Carol Paris (@CarolParis7) October 10, 2018
Backing up Sanders' charge of blatant falsehoods in a fact-check response on Common Dreams, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said the president is "dead wrong" and stated that while "lies and deceptions from Trump are nothing new," the president's falsehoods about Sanders' proposal "are new, so it's worth correcting his USA Today column."
Among the "major lies and deceits" by Trump, Weismann documented the following:
- Medicare-for-All would not "end Medicare as we know it and take away benefits that seniors have paid for all their lives." The reason it’s called Medicare-for-All is because it would take the existing program and expand it to everyone. Seniors’ benefits would not be taken away – in fact, they would be improved, but everyone else would gain the benefits of Medicare, too.
- Medicare-for-All is not going to cost an "astonishing $32.6 trillion" over 10 years, because it will introduce major savings not adequately accounted for in the study Trump cites. Significant savings would come from eliminating vast amounts of paperwork and bureaucracy imposed by the current dysfunctional system, and steeply dropping costs for brand-name pharmaceuticals. But even if Medicare-for-All cost as much as Trump alleges, that amount would be LESS than projections for our current system, which also leaves tens of millions of Americans without coverage.
- Trump's claim to have kept his pledge to maintain coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and create new health insurance options is completely deceptive. First, the protections for pre-existing conditions remain in place only because Trump failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) Meanwhile, a Republican-led lawsuit is challenging the ACA, including guarantee for pre-existing conditions, and there’s a real worry that, especially with Brett Kavanaugh now on the Supreme Court, it might succeed. As for new junk health insurance options Trump has authorized, they offer only the illusion of care, because they permit insurers to skirt the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions.
- Medicare-for-All would not "lead to the massive rationing of health care." It is the current system that rations care, based on the ability to pay. One-third of Americans say they had a problem accessing medical care because of cost in the last year. With Medicare-for-All, everyone will be able to see a doctor or access treatment, irrespective of how much money they have.
While denouncing Trump's fearmongering for being exactly that, Sanders said that his Medicare for All proposal "would allow seniors and all Americans to see the doctors they want, not the doctors their insurance companies have a contract with."
— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) October 10, 2018
Overall, Sanders concluded, a system in which everyone is covered and nobody left out would be a vast improvement over the current "dysfunctional" healthcare system that leaves approximately 30 million people without insurance – a system in which huge profits for insurance companies and drug companies are given priority over providing quality care for every man, woman and child in the country.
"The time is now for the United States to join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to every American as a right not a privilege," Sanders concluded, "and Donald Trump, the insurance companies and the drug companies will not stop us."