Bernie Sanders Tells Rage For Justice California Should Take Healthcare Reform Lead

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 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  The former presidential candidate is proposing Medicare for All, single-payer legislation at the federal level.

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 were recipients of 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.

She decried the death a week ago of unarmed Jordan Edwards, who was shot by a policeman. “He was murdered just for being black,” she said. “We know too many names now.  Racism must be faced, openly discussed and ultimately defeated. We can stop the madness we are seeing only if we stand up and fight back.”
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.”  

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 and we send our Republican friends packing,” he concluded.

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