Bernie Sanders: Current Health Care System Is "Wasteful, Expensive, And Dysfunctional"

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Sen. Bernie Sanders outlines his Medicare For All proposal:

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: This is something the American people want. It's something long overdue. We've got to do it.



HARRY SMITH, NBC: How old a person does it start with?

SANDERS: Everybody.

SMITH: Everybody?

SANDERS: Let's be clear. Thursday not a radical idea. This exists in every other major country on Earth. Healthcare is a human right. It is somewhat absurd and grossly wrong, to my mind, that today we have 34 million people who have no health insurance at all and that we have another 45 million people who are underinsured with high deductibles and high co-payments. So we have a system that is wasteful, expensive and dysfunctional. Medicare today works very well for seniors over a four year period. We've got to expand that to all of our people.

SMITH: We spend what, about $3.5 trillion on medical care?

SANDERS: That's right. And the estimate is as healthcare costs go up the best estimate I've seen would be $50 trillion over the next ten years. Medicare For All, based on virtually all the studies I've seen, will be far less expensive.

SMITH: And I can see the doctor I want to see.

SANDERS: Right now in many cases, you can't. If you're not in the network of your insurance program, you may not be able to see that doctor or you have to pay a whole lot to do that. We get people freedom of choice, doctors, and we give freedom of choice hospitals.

SMITH: The word that will come out of your opponents, assuming you get the nomination, the word that will come from the Republicans is "socialism." And just as a word, has its own level of toxicity.

SANDERS: That may or may not be. As it happens, this is not a socialist program. Do you know what is a socialist program? The Veterans Administration. Do you know what is a socialist program? Your police department, your fire department. Those are government-run programs. Every other country in one variation or another provides healthcare to all their people through a government program. What we do here is to maintain the infrastructure of healthcare in America.

SMITH: If I want to, can I opt out?

SANDERS: No.

SMITH: Everybody gets it.

SANDERS: Yeah, this is -- it's like Social Security, it's like Medicare right now. It si just an expansion of Medicare. Medicare is the most popular insurance company in America. Far more popular than private health insurance policies. If we expand Medicare to all people, you're going to see a lot of people being very satisfied.

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