“We’re a compassionate society.”
“No, we are not a compassionate society.”
— CNN (@CNN) January 18, 2017
During the confirmation hearing for Health & Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price, Senator Bernie Sanders went to town over access and affordability of health care. In the process, Sanders gave a glimpse of what may have happened behind closed Senate doors during a recent late-night marathon session, in which he fought the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare without a ready replacement. And although Donald Trump promises that the new plan will provide “insurance for everybody,” there are few details to back up that claim.
Of course, the GOP will soon control the legislative and executive branches, so they’ll likely get their way with healthcare, even though many millions of people could lose insurance coverage in the process. Yet when the Vermont senator turned his critical gaze upon the U.S. representative from Georgia, there was no hope for immediate recovery. Price had to ride this out while Sanders grilled him over whether healthcare is a right for all Americans, regardless of wealth:
Price: “Yes, We’re a compassionate society.”
Sanders: “No we are not a compassionate society in terms of our relationship to poor and working people, our record is worse than virtually every other country. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any other major country on earth. And half of our senior older workers have nothing set aside for retirement. So, I don’t think compared to other countries, we are particularly compassionate.”
Price responded by pointing out that other countries like Canada, who have provided universal healthcare, have faced “consequences.” He then claimed that his goal was high-quality healthcare access to all Americans, but Sanders shut that down too. “‘Has access to’ does not mean they are guaranteed healthcare,” Sanders argued. “I have access to buying a ten million dollar home, I don’t have the money to do that.”
Whether or not one agrees with Sanders on healthcare access, it’s impossible to deny that millions of people are similarly upset right now. Any number of Senate live streams this morning saw a load of angry faces floating across the screen, like so…
You can watch the full exchange between Sanders and Price below.