The Senate on Wednesday planned to debate for the first time in American history a proposal to create a single-payer, Medicare-for-all health care system. The Sanders Amendment would provide health care and dental coverage for every American, save money, and improve health care results. Instead, senators opposing health care reform used obstructionist tactics to avoid any progress in the Senate. Breaking with Senate tradition, Republicans demanded the clerk of the Senate read every word of the 767 page proposal. Sanders decided to pull the amendment rather than let opponents further delay action on health reform legislation. Sanders laid out the case in an impassioned floor speech and reacted to the obstruction tactics. "The fact that 17 percent of our people are unemployed or underemployed, one out of four of our children are living on food stamps, we've got two wars, we've got global warming, we have a $12 trillion national debt, and the best the Republicans can do is try to bring the United States government to a halt by forcing a reading of a 700 page amendment. That is an outrage. People can have honest disagreements, but in this moment of crisis it is wrong to bring the United States government to a halt."
The 1,300 profit-making private insurance companies administer thousands of separate plans and waste about $400 billion a year on administrative costs, profiteering, high CEO compensation packages, and advertising. Health care providers spend another $210 billion on administrative costs, mostly to deal with insurance paperwork. As a result, the United States spends $7,129 per person on health care, almost double the amount spent by nearly any other industrialized country. Nevertheless, 46 million Americans lack health insurance, 100 million Americans cannot access dental care, and 60 million Americans do not have access to primary care.
To watch the senator's entire speech, click here.
To look at a fact sheet on the Sanders Amendment, click here.
To read the text of the senator's amendment, click here.