(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) complained Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the House GOP’s health care bill, the American Health Care Act, is being shoved through, “because they don’t have the guts to hold hearings.”
According to Sanders, Republicans “don’t want the American people to know what is going on.”
“When Obamacare was being debated, we had hearing after hearing, meeting after meeting. It never ended, and these guys want to take a bill so significant to so many people and just shove it through, because they don’t have the guts to hold hearings. They don’t want the American people to know what is going on,” Sanders said.
As speaker of the House in 2010, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) famously said of Obamacare, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”
Sanders said he hopes that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) can’t get the 51 votes needed for the legislation in the Senate.
“It is an absolute disaster. It is a disgrace, and, by the way, this really has nothing to do with health care. What this has everything to do with is a massive shift of wealth from working people and middle-income people to the very richest people in this country,” he said.
“It is a $275 billion tax break for the top 2 percent. Millionaires will get about $50,000 a year in tax breaks, while at the same time, some five to 10 million people are going to lose their health insurance, premiums are going to soar,” Sanders said.
“The AARP says that if you’re 64 years of age, and you’re making about $25,000 a year, you are going to pay up to $7,000 more for your health insurance. They are going to defund Planned Parenthood, deny over two million women the right to choose the health care that they need,” he said. “They’re going to decimate Medicaid, which is why the American Medical Association, the AMA, and the American Hospital Association oppose it, in addition to the AARP.
“This is a disgrace, and, by the way, they are so cowardly that they want to go forward before the CBO even gives an estimate as to what it will cost and how many people will lose their insurance," Sanders said.
“But let me ask you this question about how many people will lose coverage. What Speaker Ryan says is, it is an unfair comparison, because the people who have coverage now have coverage in a rickety system that is getting worse, premiums are going up, insurance companies are dropping out of the system, so it is unfair to compare the people who have it now, because the system is falling apart,” host John Dickerson said.
“Oh, really? Well, five to 10 million people are going to have no health insurance at all. Nobody has ever suggested that the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, was perfect, but it did put 20 million people into the ranks of the insured. In my view, and what the American people want is an improvement on Obamacare, not the decimation of Obamacare, and throwing so many people off of health insurance and raising premiums substantially,” Sanders said.
“It is very hard for Ryan or anybody else not to deny that what they are bringing forth is far, far, far worse than Obamacare, and that its primary purpose is massive tax breaks for the very wealthiest people in this country,” he added.
As CNSNews.com reported, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the American Health Care Act will go through regular order, and it’s available for everyone to read on the speaker’s website. Spicer said the Republicans’ bill won’t be forced on anyone, and it will go through the normal legislative process so that everyone can provide input and make amendments.
“As I understand it, this bill is so outrageous that not only have the Republicans moved forward in the House without the CBO score; they want to move forward in the Senate without any hearings whatsoever, if you realize this bill is going to impact tens and tens of millions of people, and to the best of my knowledge, they want to bring it right to the floor of the Senate,” he said.
“I am a member of the Health Education Committee. When Obamacare was being debated, we had hearing after hearing, meeting after meeting. It never ended, and these guys want to take a bill so significant to so many people and just shove it through, because they don’t have the guts to hold hearings. They don’t want the American people to know what is going on,” Sanders said.