When the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was in question, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders was no easy “yea” vote.
The single-payer, Medicare-for-All type of system that he favored was never on the table, and the final bill didn’t include a public option. He also felt the legislative process had catered too much to the interests of the health care industry which had spent over $1.4 million per day lobbying to get the bill it wanted.
But Sanders knew Democrats desperately needed his vote. He used that leverage in a successful fight to increase funding for community health centers—comprehensive clinics in medically underserved areas that provide doctors, dentists, mental health counselors and prescription drugs on a sliding-scale fee so that nobody is turned away.
In the end, Sanders helped to pass the ACA—legislation that Republicans are now so desperate to repeal that they have shut down the government and put the full faith and credit of the US in jeopardy. Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Sanders held a forum to spell out exactly what the consequences would be if Republicans were to have their way and the ACA were nixed.