Transcript: Sen. Bernie Sanders’s speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on April 12, 2014 – Part 7

Part 7 – Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on April 12, 2014:

…About health care. One or two things about this Affordable Care Act, this revolutionary communist socialist plot. [Laughter] As I think many of you know, the concept of the Affordable Care Act came from Republican think tanks and it was implemented by their well-known communist Mitt Romney a few miles south of here. [Laughter]

I voted for it, with hesitation, but I voted for it among other reasons because I was able to get $10 billion in it to expand community health centers all over this country and get some other provisions in there for disease provision and make it easier for people to get to medical schools and pay their medical bill so we can deal with primary health care. [Applause]

But let me be very clear. I think the Affordable Care Act has been a modest success. Obviously the roll out was a disaster and that’s all anyone could talk about, our Republican friends could talk about. Five years from now, nobody cares about the roll out, nobody cares about a stupid website. What people care is whether human beings in this country are actually being able to go to a doctor when they need to.

There was a study some years ago at Harvard University, and what they told us is that 45,000 Americans die each year because they don’t get to a doctor when they should. And I talked to a whole lot of doctors, and everyone of them will tell you, “She walked into my office, and she was really sick. And I said ‘Why didn’t you come in here 6, 8 months ago?’ She goes ‘Well, I didn’t have any health insurance. I didn’t want any charity.’ By the time she walked into that room, it was too late.” All over the country, that is what happens.

As a nation, we have got to ask ourselves a very simple question with regard to health care. How does it happen that in this nation, we end up spending almost twice as much per person on health care as do the people in any other country yet we end up with 40 million people with no health insurance, even more, including people in this room, who are under-insured who have large co-payments and deductibles. Is that correct? All right.

And yet, at the end of that, our health care outcomes compared to other countries in terms of infant mortality, in terms of longevity are not particularly good.

And the answer is that to a very significant degree, what health care in America is about is making money for private health insurance companies. [Applause]

So I believe the Affordable Care Act is a modest step forward, but we’ve got take a bigger step and that is recognize that health care in the year 2014 must be a right of all people. I believe we should move to a Medicare for all, single payer program. [Applause]

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