The third Democratic primary debate started off with an in-depth discussion of healthcare, primarily between Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. During the exchange, the former Vice President had a peculiar response while Senator Sanders was speaking how expensive healthcare is in the United States:
Sanders: “Now let’s be clear, Joe. We are spending twice as much per capita on health care as the Canadians or any other major country on Earth.”
Biden: “This is America.”
Sanders: “Yeah, but Americans don’t want to pay twice as much as other countries. And [other countries] guarantee health care to all people…What people want is cost-effective health care.”
Here’s a clip of the exchange:
Bernie Sanders: "We are spending twice as much per capita on health care as the Canadians or any other major country on earth."
Joe Biden: "This is America."
— ABC News (@ABC) September 13, 2019
Having the most expensive healthcare system in the industrialized world could perhaps be justified if we also had the best healthcare outcomes. But that isn’t the case — not even close.
One study found that the United States has worse population health outcomes and worse access to healthcare than ten “high income countries” — Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Earlier this year, Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D–HI) stated that the United States pays more for healthcare than any other country and has worse results than any other country. Politifact rated it Mostly True.
One thing is clear: the status quo isn’t working for Americans. This became abundantly clear just a day later, when a veteran named John with more than $130,000 in medical debt told his story at a Bernie Sanders town hall in Nevada.
Sanders: “How are you going to pay it off?”
John: “I can’t, I can’t. I’m gonna kill myself!”
— Cara Korte (@CaraKorte) September 13, 2019
Sanders spoke privately with John after the event, and a GoFundMe for his medical bills was set up shortly after.
Unfortunately, John’s situation isn’t uncommon. A third of GoFundMe fundraisers are set up for medical debt.
This is part of the reason why Sanders has made Medicare For All the focal point of his campaign. It’s a smart strategy too. Multiple polls show that healthcare is the top issue for Democratic primary voters, and Democratic voters are more likely to vote for a candidate that supports Medicare For All.
Do you support Medicare For All? Leave a comment below!