Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders snapped at Trump Health and Human Services Sec. nominee Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price Wednesday at Price’s confirmation hearing for saying he believed the United States is a “compassionate society.”
“The United States of America is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee healthcare to all people as a right. Canada does it. Every major country in Europe does it. Do you believe healthcare is a right for all Americans whether they’re rich or they’re poor? Should people, because they are Americans, be able to go to the doctor when they need to go into a hospital because they are Americans?” Sanders asked Price.
“Yes we are a compassionate society,” Price replied attempting to explain thereafter, but Sanders jumped in.
Rep. Tom Price: “We are a compassionate society.” @SenSanders: “No, we are not a compassionate society…” pic.twitter.com/Yf04NNFyXO
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 18, 2017
“No, we are not a compassionate society in terms of poor and working people. Our record is worse than virtually any other country on earth and half of our senior workers have nothing set aside for retirement, so I don’t think compared to other countries we are particularly compassionate. But my question is in Canada all people have the right to get healthcare. Do you believe we should move in that direction?” the Vermont senator asked.
“If you want to talk about other countries healthcare systems there are consequences to the decisions they made just as there are consequences to the decisions that we’ve made. I believe, and I look forward to working with you, that every single American has access to the highest quality care and coverage that is possible,” Price said.
Sanders mimicked Price’s last phrase, “‘Has access to’ does not mean they are guaranteed healthcare. I can have access to buying a 10 million dollar home but I don’t have the money to do that.”
Price responded, “And that’s why we believe its appropriate to give every person the financial feasibility to be able to purchase the financial coverage they want for themselves and for their family not what the government forces them to buy.”
Sanders, who appeared flustered at this point replied, “Yeah but if they don’t have—well that’s another argument. Thank you.”