Santa Monica, CA -- United States Senator Bernie Sanders Saturday night called on California to take the lead in healthcare reform and pass a bill that would provide a single-payer healthcare system.
“The great state of California can send a message that will be heard all over this country, and all over the world if you pass single-payer here,” Sanders told an audience of 700 at Consumer Watchdog’s Rage For Justice Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The former presidential candidate is proposing Medicare for All, single-payer legislation at the federal level.
Sen. Sanders said the nation has arrived at a “pivotal moment in American history and it is not quite clear what the outcome will be.” However, he was optimistic. “I do believe we can come together and are going to create a government that works for all of us.”
Watch the full speech, in which Sanders also takes on the fossil fuel industry, oligarchy in America and the president: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk47E8qCfGs&feature=youtu.be
California Senate Bill 562, which would create a universal, publicly funded health care system in California, is generating tremendous enthusiasm among supporters. Introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara, the bill’s key backers include the California Nurses Association, whose Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro, introduced Sanders and his wife, Jane at the dinner.
The couple received Consumer Watchdog’s Public Servants of the Year award. Also honored at the dinner were Jackson Browne with the Phillip Burton Public Service Award and Christine D. Spagnoli, who received the Lifetime Legal Achievement Award.
Jane Sanders said that while her husband’s presidential campaign may not have led to victory, it had started a movement. “We have a bully pulpit and we’re using it,” she said.
Turning to the so-called American Health Care Act passed by the House of Representatives 217-213, Sanders called the bill “disgraceful,” saying it was “one of the most disgusting bills ever passed.” He said this if it is ultimately enacted — which he predicted won’t happen — it would prove a death sentence for some who would lose insurance coverage, while others would become sicker as a result. He said the truth about the AHCA is that the bill is a tax bill offering tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent.
Sanders cited recent comments by President Trump, saying he agrees with the president that Australia’s universal health care is superior to the one in the United States.
“Everybody is right once in a while,” Sanders said. “And on this particular instance, Trump is quite right.”
“So, let me say to the president that if you think the Australian health care system is so good, well, I am going to give you the opportunity to support Legislation that I am going to introduce.” Sanders’ plans to introduce a bill that would provide Medicare For All, single-payer coverage.
Sanders said that while the bad news is who is currently in power in the U.S., the good news is that on every major issue a “vast majority is on our side.”
“We must educate, organize and bring the American people together so that government works for all of us,” Sanders said.
“I want to thank you for standing up for those who do not have a voice,” Sanders told the audience of activists, lawyers, artists, nurses, labor union leaders, students, educators, and philanthropists. “Consumers are being ripped off every day by insurance companies, by drug companies that charge us the highest prices in the world for life saving medicine… Our people are being ripped off by the greed and illegal behavior on Wall Street, and have been ripped off by the lies fossil fuel industry who spend millions to tell us that climate change really isn’t real and then end up ripping off consumers at the gas pump…You are standing up to that greed and protecting consumers and I thank you very much for what you do.”
Consumer Watchdog hosts the Rage for Justice Awards to honor the heroes and heroines of the public interest movement. The awards are named after Congressman Phillip Burton, one of the most productive and driven progressive legislators in American history. His story is told in John Jacobs’ acclaimed book “A Rage for Justice”. This is the 11th Rage for Justice Awards. Learn more at www.RageforJustice.org
Find out more about Consumer Watchdog at www.ConsumerWatchdog.org
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