Bernie Dodges Question About Italy’s Overwhelmed Health Care System

Jake Tapper asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about how the United States might avoid ending up in the same situation as Italy, where stories have emerged of a massively overburdened health care system.

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“If you were president, right now, what would you do to make sure every sick American is able to get treatment so the U.S. does not suffer the same fate as Italy, where doctors have to decide right now who gets life-saving treatment and who does not?” asked Tapper.

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Sanders replied, but steered clear of the portion of Tapper’s question pertaining to the Italian health care system:

Jake: let’s be honest, and understand that this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality of our current health care system. Now, we are spending twice as much per person on health care as the people of any other country. How in god’s name does it happen that we end up with 87 million people who are uninsured or underinsured – and there are people who are watching this program tonight who’re saying, “I’m not feeling well? Should I go to the doctor? But I can’t afford to go to the doctor! What happens if I am sick? It’s going to cost thousands of dollars for treatment! Who’s going to feed my kids?”

We are the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people. We’re spending so much money, and yet we are not even prepared for this pandemic. How come we don’t have enough doctors? How come hospitals in rural areas are shutting down? How come people can’t afford to get the prescription drugs they need? Because we have a bunch of crooks who are running the pharmaceutical industry ripping us off every single day. And I’ll tell you something right now. In the midst of this epidemic, you’ve got people in the pharmaceutical industry who are saying, “Oh wow, what an opportunity to make a fortune.”

So the word has got to go out – I certainly would do this as President – you don’t worry, people of America, do not worry about the cost of prescription drugs, do not worry about the cost of the health care that you’re going to get because we are a nation, a civilized democratic society, everybody, rich and poor, middle class, will get the care they need. The drug companies will not rip us off.

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