September 24th, 2013
08:16 PM ET
9 years ago

Bernie Sanders: Obamacare is a ‘good Republican program’

Washington (CNN) – Noted Senate liberal Bernie Sanders stood in support of Obamacare Tuesday even while saying the bill doesn’t go nearly far enough.

Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats, reiterated his support of a universal single-payer Medicare for all, inspired by health care programs in Europe. On CNN’s Crossfire, he called the Affordable Care Act that Congress passed in 2010 a “good Republican program,” referring to the Massachusetts program introduced by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney that served as the blueprint for what has come to be known as Obamacare.

The U.S. is the “only nation in the entire industrial world that doesn’t guarantee health care as a right,” Sanders said.

Opposing Sanders was Sen. Lindsey Graham, a GOP leader who has said Obamacare “sucks,” while still opposing the plan to tie defunding the health care law with a continuing resolution to fund the rest of the government.

Cruz: Speech to last until I can't stand

“I can’t imagine filibustering a bill I’m actually for,” Graham said of efforts to prevent the Senate from moving forward to vote by GOP anti-Obamacare stalwart Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. Cruz has argued that allowing a vote means accepting defeat, with a likely party-line vote by which Democrats will pass a continuing resolution that also funds Obamacare.

McConnell rejects Cruz shutdown strategy

Tuesday, Graham, of South Carolina, continually alluded to President Barack Obama’s signature legislation as socialized medicine, criticizing universal systems championed by Sanders like the one in Canada.

“Competition is a good thing,” Graham said of government guarantees of universal health care, which he argued lead to some services lacking. He said thousands of Canadians cross the border into the United States to get health care services not available to them at home.

Sanders responded that during the 1990s, “I took Vermonters over the Canadian border” to get medicine that was far cheaper than in the United States.

Sanders cautioned that “certainly the Canadian system is not perfect.” But he noted that the system is still widely popular.

In response, Graham said that “the European model is not going to go well here.”

While opposed to the bill overall, Graham said there were parts of Obamacare he would adopt, namely allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plan and the prohibition against denying people insurance because of preexisting conditions. Graham said he has a problem, though, with “the structure of the bill,” which is “so expensive to comply with.”

Cost remained one of Graham’s key criticisms, as he responded to the idea of universal Medicare by saying that Medicare and Medicaid will one day cost more in taxes than the U.S. government takes in.

Graham argued that the state health care exchanges going live next month are not the end of the debate over Obamacare but just the beginning, a key issue that Republicans can hammer home during the 2014 midterm elections.

“I’m trying to get votes on a bill that I think can be dramatically changed if people on the Republican and Democratic side had an opportunity to actually talk about it and vote on parts that we don’t like,” Graham said.

“The best thing the Republican Party can do is have a debate on Obamacare throughout 2014. It is now Hillary-care,” he said.

Hillary Clinton defends Obamacare against Republicans' 'bad politics'

Filed under: Bernie Sanders • Lindsey Graham
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Yet, if it was a stupid war in the mid east, Lindsay would vote for it.

    September 24, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    These nasty GOP thugs want every one to have Guns–not Healthcare. Wars–so that they can Ron the nation on frederal contracts. I hate this sob. No vision for this great nation.

    September 24, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. orrball

    If its so good Bernie tell us why all these people are getting pass. so after you people have thrown the rest of us under the bus we are out of money paying for this and working part time what are you going to do? All the people that got a pass can a ford to lose money why don't they go first ?

    September 24, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. HenryMiller

    "Noted Senate liberal Bernie Sanders..."

    Liberal? Sanders is a self-avowed socialist. And if he's in favour of Obamacare, that more or less proves it's an unamerican disaster.

    "The U.S. is the “only nation in the entire industrial world that doesn’t guarantee health care as a right,” Sanders said."

    So what? If you want "free" third-rate medicine, go somewhere else.

    Romneycare isn't a violation of the US Constitution, Obamacare is.

    September 24, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. Cephus

    The poor needs help regardless of color, creed or even political party affiliation. When a disease strikes it never stops to ask are you blue or red?

    September 24, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Ok , Romney care is ok , Obama care is not ?

    Why ?

    September 24, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  7. michael

    A repuglican idea, Repuglican implemented plan in Massachusetts, a repuglican Govenor implemented the plan Romneycare, Repuglicans came up with the idea of mandates and penalties, Repuglicans came up wth the idea of exchanges; what we have is a good repuglican idea that repuglicans oppose because they did not win the presidential election and could not implement it! So, now let repuglicans shutdown the government over the program they are responsible for creating and sharing with Americans! The politics of sabotaging a repuglican program by repuglicans is the best offense the repuglicans can show Americans! How to eat their own ideas!

    September 24, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. NameTA

    All Americans that don't like this scumbag obama forcing us into a socialist healthcare while he gives exemptions to his worshippers ought to just break the law like obama does everyday we just say no don't do anything they tell us to do what they going to do arrest 175 million Americans that hate the jerkwawad obama and now hate the pervert Clinton's just as much as the illegal immigrant obama

    September 24, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  9. joe

    sen. sanders is right. the main parts of the ACA are modeled after ideas take from the heritage foundation including the individual mandate. this is why the republicans look like fools and cry babies over this whole thing. they were great ideas until the democrats copied them then they became socialized medicine. the individual mandate is all about personal responsibility. something the GOP likes to talk about when it serves a purpose for them.

    September 24, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  10. S. B. Stein

    It requires the individual to do something while giving that individual choice in getting coverage. We all need coverage for health insurance.

    September 24, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  11. boungiorno


    September 24, 2013 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  12. rs

    Sanders is right, and the Right is delusional. It might be sad if not so friggin' funny. Enjoy your soliloquy Cruz.

    September 24, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  13. freedom

    Why doesn't this guy move to Europe or Canada if he loves it so much. We don't care what you think.

    September 24, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  14. dave

    why is there no fact checking in this article? its just one opinion without any facts or sources to support vs. another without any facts or sources to support it.

    September 24, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  15. Evergreen

    "It is now Hilary Care"?! It is these off-the-wall comments that make it doubtful that I will ever vote for a Republican again. "Obamacare sucks..." Is this person 16 years old?!

    September 25, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  16. DaveW

    My grand old party has no alternative to the Affordable Care Act. They act as if there is no crisis in healthcare in our country, which is true only if you are wealthy. For everyone who is not wealthy, we Americans are beginning to realize: You have to stay away from physicians and the entire medical industry. Don't call an ambulance, don't got to the ER, stay away from clinics and for God's sake, don't ever, ever go to the hospital.

    September 25, 2013 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  17. Larry in Houston

    Bernie is right – it doesn't go far enough – it may take a year or so, to get the bugs worked out of it – but as an employer, I have 4 gals that work for me, and they certainly cannot afford to get health Insurance, it would be much too costly for the majority of the mainstream working person, or people. So, what do they do ? if they get sick, for one reason or another, where do they go ? Certainly a family of 2 or 4 or 6 or whatever, isn't going to pay 500 to 800 per month for health coverage. And I don't blame them. I wouldn't either. So, again, where are they going to GO ???
    I rest my case .......The ACA is the ONLY Way to go. And as for Ted Cruz, he's trying to "out do" Rand Paul & the gal down here in the Legislature, who is thinking about running for Governor, is all. The way Cruze is portraying his conduct, he will never be elected to POTUS, Ever !!

    September 25, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  18. Marie MD

    Could somebody please give ms. lindsey some iced tea with a hint of mint and tell him to go to the corner and be quiet.
    Sanders is right. Obamacare (like Medicare was) has been a target (a word they understand) of the rethugs for decades. Now they are against it even though their twit put it in place in Massachusetts and I know it's working as my brother in law lives in that state.
    I see the little blip on turkey rand above and, yes, you racist little twit except that it's NOT just the Democrats it's the country that will be better off with the medical care you and your crazies in congress receive. Not as cheap, of course, but I believe the word is compassionate. You wouldn't know a darn thing about it.

    September 25, 2013 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  19. kirk

    Trying to tie her to obamacare already huh? What a worthless coward!

    September 25, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  20. M.A.P.

    The U.S. is the “only nation in the entire industrial world that doesn’t guarantee health care as a right". Think about that Republicans. Let me repeat – The U.S. is the “only nation in the entire industrial world that doesn’t guarantee health care as a right". How does that fact make you feel? Proud? Proud that the most vulnerable of your citizens cannot receive basic health services when they need it? Shame on the Republican's and their secret motives of greed and selfishness. SHAME.

    September 25, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  21. A True Conservative

    Yes! Let's follow the European helthcare model. Then we can be financially devestated too!

    September 25, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  22. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP already lost on this issue and should just shut up the teaparty dufus Cruz should just go back to Canada and tell them how bad their healthcare system is . Cruz is just poisoning any chance of the GOP keeping the house and showing how incompetent the GOP is. Do you think anybody is going to vote GOP for More of the same????? Not likely !!!!!

    September 25, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  23. Tampa Tim

    Giving uninsured Americans access to affordable healthcare (except in the red states) may turn the southern states democratic when their voters realize they have been lied to by the right wingnuts.

    September 25, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  24. Tampa Tim

    At the risk of hurting super sensitive Tom l's feelings, you have to wonder how stupid right wingnuts are for trying to filibuster against the congressional bill they support. Using the senate floor to tell your children to brush their teeth while we are on the verge of a republican induced economic meltdown is an act of a domestic terrorist.

    September 25, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Tuesday, Graham, of South Carolina, continually alluded to President Barack Obama’s signature legislation as socialized medicine,
    NEWSFLASH Sen. Graham: Medicare is socialized medicine

    September 25, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
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