WASHINGTON, November 19 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today that he would cast one of the 60 votes needed in the Senate on Saturday to advance health care reform, but he added that his vote on final passage remains uncertain.
“My vote for final passage of this bill is not at all guaranteed until I see a final bill that is strong and effective for working families and taxpayers in Vermont and America,” said Sanders, a member of the Senate health committee.
A strong advocate of a Medicare-for-all single-payer approach, Sanders said he will continue his fight to give states the opportunity to go forward with their own single-payer program.
“While this bill makes some very important improvements in our health care system, I continue to have a number of concerns,” Sanders said. The legislation should be strengthened to:
- und a major restructuring of primary health care in America to greatly expand the number of community health centers and primary care doctors, dentists and nurses.
- Let more people participate in new insurance exchanges and other measures to bolster the public option.
- Make certain that health insurance, including out-of-pocket expenses, will be affordable for working families and the middle class.
- Make certain that there are cost-containment provisions which control soaring health care costs in the country.
- Ensure that that the $800 billion to $1 trillion needed to pay for the program over 10 years is raised in a fair and progressive way.
- Eliminate the so-called doughnut hole gap in coverage under the Medicare prescription drug program.
- Lower the cost of prescription drugs for all Americans.
- Make certain that a woman’s right to choose is not weakened.
“I intend to play an active role in making the bill as good as it possibly can be,” Sanders said.