CBS's "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan grilled presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders Sunday about the potential cost of his Medicare For All proposal, asking if the Democratic Party can't run the Iowa caucus, how can they expect to administer the healthcare system.
"You're advocating for the empowerment of the U.S. government to take over the entire health care system. This just optically, looks like the party can't run its own caucus."
MARGARET BRENNAN: You're advocating for the empowerment of the U.S. government to take over the entire health care system. This just optically--
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: No. Hold it-- hold it, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --looks like the party--
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Margaret-- Margaret--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --can't run its own caucus.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --Margaret. Margaret, that's not a true statement. I am not advocating for the United States government to take over the health care system. What I am advocating for is an expansion of Medicare. Medicare exists.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right--
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I want to expand it over a four-year period that'd be--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --which would be administered by the U.S. government--
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Precisely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --and your administration, if you win.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Just as Medicare is right now. But it-- but it's not a takeover. People will still go to the same doctor. They will go to the same hospital. We will substantially lower the cost of prescription drugs. Cost per person will go down.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. But what-- but I think the-- the nub of the--
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: People will be paying less for health care. But it's not a takeover.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --the nub of the criticism, though, is that this is a question of competency. And straight out of the gate, how do you reassure the public that the party whose ticket you are--
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Okay.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --running on can do this and do this successfully in the states ahead? Nevada is already--
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --saying when it comes to their caucuses, they are short of volunteers. Our campaign reporter says they are short a thousand caucus chairs and they might have to even hold two caucuses at once. This doesn't look efficient.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, all right, that may well be the case. But let's get back to the United States government. I'm not the chair of the Nevada Democratic Party.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You told my colleague Norah O'Donnell recently on CBS that you couldn't put a price tag on your health care plan and your proposals. But I want to ask you for some clarity here because back in July, you told The Washington Post, Medicare for All would cost between thirty to forty trillion dollars over ten years. Do you still trust those numbers and those estimates?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Sure. All that I said-- the answer is yes. But all that I said is anybody who tells you what anything is going to cost in health care is-- is not telling you the truth. There is so much, it's so big. If we do nothing, what the Health and Human Services--
MARGARET BRENNAN: So it's not thirty to forty trillion?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Over a ten-year period.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Sure. I mean the-- the problem is we're already spending about fifty percent of health care dollars already come from the federal government. We've got to add the other fifty percent. But here's the main point that people should appreciate: if we do nothing, according to Health and Human Services, we're going to be spending fifty trillion dollars. We spend twice as much per capita on health care as do the people of Canada or Europe. So, of course, we can provide health care to all people spending less than we are doing now because we're going to end--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --the hundred billion dollars in profiteering that goes to the drug companies, that goes to the--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: --insurance companies and the hundreds of billions of dollars in administration of thousands of separate plans, enormously complicated and wasteful system.
Watch the full interview below: