Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is calling on the top lobbyists of the nation's private health insurance and pharmaceutical industries to explain to the American people why they are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars this election cycle to attack his proposal for Medicare for All—a plan that would provide everyone in the country with healthcare coverage by improving and expanding the existing Medicare program.
In a letter sent Friday to Matt Eyles and Stephen Ubl, the respective heads of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Sanders asked them both to "please explain to the American people why you believe it is more important to spend such an enormous sum of money on advertising, lobbying and campaign contributions than it is to make sure that no one in the wealthiest country in the world dies or goes bankrupt because they cannot afford to purchase life-saving prescription drugs or go to a doctor."
Following the letter, Sanders also put out a video on social media explaining the simple question he was putting to the industry leaders.
"You made a $100 billion in profits last year," Sanders states in the video, addressing the two industries. "How much are you going to be spending of that $100 billion to oppose Medicare for All? Is it $200 million? Is it $500 million? Is it a billion dollars in order to protect your profits?"
Today I asked the health care industry a simple question:
How much will you spend to defeat Medicare for All?
Is it $200 million? Is it $500 million?
They can spend all the money they want. We're going to beat them. pic.twitter.com/cjjCVbOBsc
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— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 10, 2019
While poll after poll continues to show that the American people are increasingly supportive of Sanders' Medicare for All proposal—especially when survey questions are framed without industry-friendly talking points designed to scare consumers about costs or benefits—the corporations that have the most to lose if the for-profit system goes away, such as private insurers and drug manufactures, have mobilized their deep-pocketed public relations machine to stem the growing demand for a more cost-effective and universal system.
As studies have shown and as expert economists continue to argue, Medicare for All would provide better and more universal coverage while reducing overall healthcare spending in the country.
Medicare for All works like a TAX CUT for 95% of the population. SAVES the average family ~$3,000 annually. You get MORE COVERAGE (mental health, vision, dental, long-term care) for LESS MONEY. pic.twitter.com/YhtZQqwsjm
— Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton) August 9, 2019
"The most fundamental goals of Medicare for All are to significantly improve healthcare outcomes for everyone living in the United States while also establishing effective cost controls throughout the healthcare system," said economist Robert Pollin last year as he introduced new research based on Sanders' legislation. "These two purposes are both achievable."
Read the full letter sent by the Sanders campaign:
In an email on Saturday, Sanders urged people to read and even co-sign the letter. "We should all be outraged at their spending during this process," the candidate said, "and please know who they are trying to beat: Not just me. They are trying to beat us."