Bernie Sanders calls new health care bill “a tax break for the top 2 percent”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday that legislation proposed by House Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare is an “absolute disaster” that will shift wealth from America’s working class to the richest people.

“It is a 275 billion dollar tax break for the top 2 percent,” Sanders told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Millionaires will get about 50 thousand dollars a year in tax breaks while some 5 to 10 million are going to lose their health insurance. Premiums are going to soar.”

The Vermont senator noted that while Obamacare was not “perfect,” it did offer coverage to 20 million previously uninsured Americans. Sanders emphasized that in his view, Americans want improvements made to the Affordable Care Act, “not the decimation of Obamacare and throwing so many people off of health insurance and raising premiums substantially.”

Among his criticisms of the new healthcare bill, Sanders listed the defunding of Planned Parenthood as well as opposition expressed by the AARP, American Medical Association, and American Hospital Association. “The AARP says that if you are 64 years of age and you’re making about 25 thousand a year,” Sanders said, “you’re going to pay up to seven thousand dollars more for your health insurance.”

Sen. Sanders also raised concerns that the House Republicans’ bill would travel directly to the Senate floor without hearings. “It is impossible for any serious legislator to defend a process by which a bill is coming to the Senate without one hearing before the vote takes place,” Sanders said. “And I think it’s clear to everybody.”

“They want to move as quickly as they can,” Sanders said, in a reference to House Republicans. “They are embarrassed about the product.” 

The Senator underlined that during America’s debate over Obamacare, members of Congress held “hearing after hearing after hearing” in a vote for transparency. “They don’t have the guts to hold hearings,” Sanders said of his GOP counterparts. “They don’t want the American people to know what’s going on.” 

In a dig at President Donald Trump, Sanders impersonated the Republican’s health care pitch while stumping on the trail. “Trump was the guy who said to the American people when he ran for president, ‘Oh, don’t worry, we’ve got a terrific idea. We’re going to provide health care to all people.’”

The current plan, Sanders insisted, is far from the president’s campaign promise. “This is throwing 5 to 10 million people off of the health insurance they currently have,” he said.