Transcript: Senator Bernie Sanders on current health care bills, 24 July 2009

Bernie: Now, what’s going on is, in the Senate at least, is the Health Education Committee, of which I am a member, last week completed work and passed a Bill which does some good things. It doesn’t go anywhere near as far as I would like it to go, certainly not a single payer bill, but this is what it does do. It does have a public option, which says that Americans will be able to choose between a Medicare type approach versus private health insurance, it puts a whole lot of money into primary health care, making sure that Americans all over this country will have access to a doctor when today they don’t.

It will put a lot of money into disease prevention, and try to get at the roots of why so many of our people are coming down with chronic diseases which not only cause a lot of human suffering but obviously are very expensive for the system to deal with. It deals with the issue of quality control, why some medical facilities do a very good job for relatively small amounts of money, while others spend a whole lot of money and their outcomes are not as good, and this legislation increases coverage to tens of millions of people. Is it a perfect bill? By no means is it, doesn't really, in my view, get to the issue of cost containment, but it is a step forward.

The other committee dealing with is the Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, and their approach, and his approach, has been to say, 'well, let me see if we can negotiate something with the Republicans'. There is no Republican in the Senate, to the best of my knowledge, who wants a public plan, who is very strong on doing the right thing, in terms of taking on the drug companies, and the insurance companies. But for some reason, that committee is continuing to discuss, negotiate with Republicans, and seems to be going nowhere fast.

At some point, and it apparently will not be before the August break, the Health Committee Bill is going to be merged with an eventual Finance Committee Bill. That will probably be done by the Majority Leader, Harry Reid, who frankly I think will come down a lot closer to the Health side than he will to the Finance Committee side.

And then you’re going to have a Conference Committee between the House, when their Committees get together, and the Senate, and the President…..

Thom: Does the Senate first have to vote on whatever Harry Reid puts together from these two Committees ?

Bernie: Yes.

Thom: OK.

Bernie: And then there will be a vote in the House as well, merging the three separate Committees that they have.

Thom: Right. And that’s Speaker Pelosi’s job, to pull all those ?

Bernie: Pelosi will play certainly an important role in melding those Bills together. And then the President will be intervening I think strongly in the Conference Committee, in coming up with something.

Thom: The Conference between the House and the Senate ?

Bernie: Exactly. So that’s kind of where we are right now.

Transcribed by Gerard Aukstiejus.

Popular blog posts

No blog posts. You can add one!

ADHD: Hunter in a Farmer's World

Thom Hartmann has written a dozen books covering ADD / ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

Join Thom for his new twice-weekly email newsletters on ADHD, whether it affects you or a member of your family.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.