Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, touted his Medicare-for-all health plan and lambasted the current GOP proposal to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act at a rally Friday in San Francisco.
Sanders said 4.5 million people in the state could lose their health coverage if the Republican Graham-Cassidy bill passes.
“In California, and all across this country, if you are an older worker, you’re 60, you’re 62 years of age, understand that if this legislation passes, your premiums are going to skyrocket,” Sanders added.
The event was organized by the California Nurses Association, which backed Sanders during his campaign in last year’s Democratic primary and supports his Medicare-for-all plan.
Support for the Republican Graham-Cassidy bill took a major hit on Friday when Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain said he would not support it.
The proposal would repeal the Affordable Care Act and its requirement that individuals have health coverage. It also would cut subsidies for public health exchanges and defund Planned Parenthood.
Finally, the measure would institute a block grant system to fund Medicaid. That would cap how much states can receive for health care for residents who are poor or disabled.
$139 billion cost for California?
The current GOP plan could cost California $139 billion in federal funding by 2027, according to an analysis released on Friday by the California Department of Healthcare Services.
“As bad as the first two (Republican health) proposals were before Congress rejected them, this version is even worse,” the department’s director, Jennifer Kent, said in a news release.
“It would deprive millions of Californians of health care coverage. It would jeopardize their lives and drive up costs for our health systems and our communities, even for those who keep their insurance," Kent added.
Sanders said “the time has come” for his plan, a single-payer proposal that would greatly expand Medicare to Americans of all ages. It’s supported by more than a dozen Democratic senators including California Sen. Kamala Harris. Single payer systems largely seek to separate health insurance from employment.
“We are sick and tired, and the nurses know this better than anyone, of seeing people who are sick, not able to go to the doctor or the nurse because they have no health insurance,” Sanders told Friday’s rally.
The New York Times described the potential impact of Sanders’ plan this way: It “would bring huge changes to the health care system, affecting many people who are content with the coverage they have. More than 150 million people under the age of 65 have employment-based coverage. The Sanders bill would separate health insurance from employment, shrinking the role of employers and insurance companies."
PolitiFact California examined Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan and his record with the truth here, in advance of his trip to California.