In which Bernie Sanders is either lying or delusional or a hypocrite.
QUESTION: Hello, Senator. Are you willing to compromise on your position on Medicare for all, free college, and eliminating student debt in order to pass meaningful legislation?
SANDERS: Well, Medicare for all, the proposal that we have, Ron, is in a sense a compromise because we don't do it all at once. We do it over a four-year period. And the first year, what we do is we expand Medicare.
Medicare is a strong program right now. It's the most popular health insurance program out there. But it is not as good as it should be. So what we do in the first year, Ron, is we expand it to cover dental care, which last I heard oral health was a health care issue, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and home health care. And in year one of a four- year transition period, we lower the eligibility age from 65 down to 55. Year two, 45, year three, 35. Year four, everybody's in. So that's kind of a compromise. There are some people who say, hey, let's do it. You know, other countries have done it all instantaneously. We do a four-year period...
This, of course, is ludicrous. No, it's not a "compromise" to say "we're going to pass & sign a bill into law which completely overhauls the entire U.S healthcare system for 327 million people, but we're going to do it in 4 years instead of on Day One", especially considering that there's no conceivable way it could be done in one year. Even the Affordable Care Act, which only directly impacted perhaps 1/10th of the population (although it indirectly impacts everyone in less visible ways) took four years to fully ramp up.
The only thing this would be a "compromise" with is the House Medicare for All bill, which is extremely similar except it supposedly would go into effect within two years instead of four (which, again, simply wouldn't happen anyway).
As an aside: Taiwan did indeed supposedly transition to a full single payer system within a year...but not really, because it apparently actually took five years of planning and two years of legislation, In addition, Taiwan also only has 24 million residents, and their economy, culture and government differ from the U.S., as did their healthcare system before making the transition.
COOPER: Let me just ask, though, if there isn't the groundswell of people, the revolution that you have talked about, of people insisting on these changes, are there compromises you're willing to make with Republicans to get close to what you want?
SANDERS: Well, I mean, you got to look at it at a case by case moment. I think, for example, Ron, you go out to the American -- you go to Mitch McConnell's state of Kentucky, which is a state where a lot of people are struggling, and you say to those people, OK, this is my proposal. We're going to lower the age of Medicare from 65 to 55, and we're expanding it to cover, as I mentioned, dental care and home health care and eyeglasses and hearing AIDS, what percentage of the people do you think in Kentucky would support that proposal? My guess is 70 percent, 80 percent of the people.
And my job then as president is to rally those people and tell their senators to support it. I think we can do that.
The positioning and wording of this exchange is a bit confusing, because the original question was about Medicare for All, which would transition everyone aged 55 - 64 (as well as all children up to age 18) into the expanded Medicare the first year before then moving on to transitioning everyone age 45-54 in year two, then 35-44 in year 3 and finally 19-34 in year four.
Bernie's response is essentially about "rallying a groundswell revolution of people" into demanding that Mitch McConnell agree to pass the bill...but I can't tell whether he's talking about the full-blown Medicare for All bill or a partial version which only includes the 55-64 chunk of the population. You can interpret it either way, really.
If Bernie is referring to "rallying 70-80% of the people of Kentucky" to force Mitch McConnell, of all people, to support his full Medicare for All bill, he's utterly delusional. This is a man who literally kept a U.S. Supreme Court seat open for nearly a year just to deny President Obama the chance at filling it...not to mention that in this scenario he'd be a 77 year-old Senate leader who had just won another 6-year term in office. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't give a rat's ass about getting re-elected again in 2026 at the age of 84.
(As an aside, this is also a pretty ugly swipe at the Democratic Kentucky Senate nominee, whether it's Amy McGrath or another candidate, since Bernie is effectively conceding that McConnell is bound to win in November).
If, on the other hand, Bernie is referring to them rallying to force McConnell to support expanding a 100% comprehensive version of Medicare to "only" those age 55-64, it makes him slightly less delusional, but also makes him out to be quite the hypocrite.
The great irony here is that assuming he's only referring to the 55-64 slice of the population, it would be a semi-reasonable explanation of being willing to compromise...except that he, his campaign and his more overzealous supporters have spent years insisting that anyone else who's willing to accept anything short of his 100% pure, 100% universal, 100% comprehensive, 100% coverage, $0 out of pocket vision of Medicare for All must be a corrupt neoliberal corporate sellout, etc. etc.
Of course, the truth is that Bernie himself would compromise if push came to shove. He just refuses to give anyone else that type of consideration.