WASHINGTON, May 24 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made the following statement at a press conference Wednesday after the Congressional Budget Office released its score of the American Health Care Act:
"We can call this legislation whatever we want—you can call it a 'destroy health care' bill. You can call it a 'tax break for the rich' bill. But we should not call it a health care bill. I have never seen a health care bill which throws 23 million Americans off of health insurance. That's not a health care bill.
"It's not a health care bill when you cut Medicaid by $800 billion, denying health insurance to children or some of the poorest people in this country or middle class people who need help with nursing home care for their parents.
"It is not a health care bill when you defund Planned Parenthood and deny 2.5 million women their choice of health care providers.
"It is not a health care bill when you force older workers pay two, three, four times more for their health care that they currently get. So call it whatever you want, but please do not call this bill a health care bill.
"This is legislation that provides over $200 billion in tax breaks to the wealthiest 2 percent. It is legislation which provides hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the insurance companies, the drug companies and other people in the medical industry.
"Our job is to come together and improve the Affordable Care Act, lower deductibles, lower co-payments, lower prescription drug costs. Our job is to pass a health care bill, not to throw millions of people off of their health insurance they currently have."
In the Q&A session, Sanders said:
"Speaking as the ranking member of the Budget Committee—as you know on the reconciliation, the HELP committee is required to save at least $1 billion. It is very possible that the new bill does not meet that basic requirement because of the high risk pool and stabilization amendments that were added to the bill. It is possible that, that, in fact, that bill may cost the HELP committee some $28 billion rather than save a billion. And if that's the case, reconciliation is not a process they can use."
Download a video of Sanders' statement here.