Sanders: Coronavirus 'exposes the incredible weakness' of US health care

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The health care system has experienced a shortage of coronavirus test kits.

From the March 15 Democratic presidential primary debate:

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: If you were president right now, what would you do to make sure every sick American is able to get treatment so the U.S. does not suffer the same fate as Italy, where doctors have to decide right now who gets lifesaving treatment and who does not?

 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Jake, let's be honest and understand that this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality of our current health care system.

 

Now, we're spending twice as much per person on health care as the people of any other country. How in God's name does it happen that we end up with 87 million people who are uninsured or underinsured and there are people watching this program tonight who say, "I'm not feeling well. Should I go to the doctor? But I can't afford to go to doctor. What happens if I am sick? It's going to cost thousands of dollars for treatment. Who is going to feed my kids?"

 

We are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people. We're spending so much money and yet we're not even prepared for this pandemic. How come we don't have enough doctors? How come hospitals in rural areas are shutting town? How come people can't afford to get the prescription drugs they need because we have a bunch of crooks who are running the pharmaceutical industry ripping us off every single day.

 

And I'll tell you something right now: In the midst of this epidemic, you've got people in the pharmaceutical industry are saying, "Oh, wow, what an opportunity to make a fortune."

 

So the word has got to go out, I certainly would do this as president, you don't worry. People of America, do not worry about the cost of prescription drugs. Do not worry about the cost of the health care that you're going to get. Because we are a nation, a civilized democratic society. Rich and poor, middle class will get the care they need. The drug companies will not rip us off.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.