Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) headlined the start of a campaign against Trumpcare Saturday night before some 1,000 angry people in the Pittsburgh Convention Center, calling the plan slicing millions from insurance coverage an unconscionable “moral outrage.”
“This so-called health care bill passed in the House last month is the most anti-working-class piece legislation passed by the House of Representatives in the modern history of this country,” said Sanders. “And the Senate bill … is even worse.”
“We will not allow 23 million Americans to be thrown off of the health insurance they currently have in order to give over $500 billion in tax breaks to the top two percent, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, and to other multi-national corporations,” he added.
“What kind of a country are we if anyone can come before you and talk about cutting health care for children with disabilities in order to give tax breaks to the richest people on earth?”
The 30-minute speech was Sander’s first in his “Don’t Take Away Our Healthcare” tour of towns rallying opposition to the proposed plan that aims to also slash $800 billion from Medicaid.
Sanders has joined forces with MoveOn.org for a bus tour that will also include stops in Columbus, Ohio, and Charleston, West Virginia. It’s part of a push to convince Republican Sens. Pat Tuomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia to vote against the Senate version of Trumpcare revealed Thursday.
Sanders said that while Obamacare has its faults, “we should improve it, not destroy it.” He called on the U.S. to “join the rest of the industrialized world” concerning health care. “We are the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right,” he said.
Sanders urged the establishment of an even more inclusive insurance system — a kind of “Medicare for all.” That “is where we have to go, and clearly the momentum from California to Maine is with us,” he said to wild cheers.
He focused on Trumpcare’s pain for children, the elderly, the poor and veterans.
Sanders presented the health care battle as one in a growing war between the wealthiest in the nation and the most vulnerable. He railed against growing income and wealth inequality in a nation where the top one-tenth of one percent of the population owns “almost as much wealth” as the lower 90 percent combined.
Beyond the details of the “disastrous” Trumpcare legislation, “we are talking about a very profound moral issue,” Sanders said. “A great nation is not judged by the number of millionaires and billionaires it has … it’s judged by its compassion and by how well it treats the most vulnerable people in this country,” he said.
“It is a moral outrage that this nation will never live down if we take health care from the most vulnerable to give tax breaks to the very rich.”