During a portion of Tuesday night's Democratic debate focused on healthcare, Sen. Bernie Sanders interjected to castigate some of his 2020 primary rivals—namely former vice president Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—for again repeating right-wing talking points against Medicare for All and defending the primacy of the for-profit insurance industry.
"I get a little bit tired, I must say, of people defending a system which is dysfunctional, which is cruel," Sanders said, as he cast glances at Biden and Buttigieg. "Eighty-seven million uninsured, thirty-thousand people dying every single year, five-hundred thousand going bankrupt—for what reason?—they came down with cancer."
"I will tell you what the issue is here," Sanders continued. "The issue is whether the Democratic Party has the guts to stand up to the healthcare industry which made a $100 billion in profits; whether we have the guts to stand up to the corrupt, price-fixing pharmaceutical industry which is charging us the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. If we don't have the guts to do that—if all we can do is take their money—we should be ashamed of ourselves."
We are a LITTLE BIT TIRED of people defending a dysfunctional, cruel system!
"The issue is, does the Dem Party have the guts to stand up to the healthcare insurance, the corrupt pharmaceutical industry, if we don't have the guts to do that, we should be ashamed of ourselves" pic.twitter.com/uAewZCwlrk
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— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) October 16, 2019
Applause for Sanders' comment followed, with former labor secretary and economist Robert Reich stating, "No one can match Bernie Sanders for righteous indignation about our screwed-up system."
In response to Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted:
Thank you! There are too many plans out there that seem more interested in protecting corporate profits than protecting the lives of working Americans.
We need #MedicareForAll, and we need it now. https://t.co/Te8c8g0tJS
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 16, 2019
And the Pod Save America team put it simply: "Bernie Sanders is tired of your shit on healthcare in America."