Senator Bernie Senators issued a fiery rebuke to Georgia Congressman Tom Price's non-committal answers to questions about health care accessibility during his Senate confirmation hearing to head Health and Human Services.
Sanders asked Price whether he believes that health care should be a basic right for all Americans. Price said that he believes all Americans should have access to "the highest quality coverage and care that is possible."
The Vermont senator's response gets to the heart of the problem with Price's repeated assurances that he believes in "access" for all Americans: "'Has access to' does not mean that they are guaranteed health care," said Sanders. "I have access to buying a $10 million home. I don't have the money to do that."
Sanders pressed Price on whether or not he believes Americans should be guaranteed health care, which lead to this exchange:
PRICE: Well, we are a compassionate society…
SANDERS: No, we are not a compassionate society in terms of our relationship to poor and working people. Our record is worse than virtually any other on Earth. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any other major country on earth. And half of our senior workers have nothing set aside for retirement. So I don't think compared to other countries that we are particularly compassionate.
Here's the full clip:
As President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, Price is set to head up a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And based on a health care plan he proposed in 2015, he's likely to push for block-grants to states and minimal federal oversight, meaning what kind—and how much—health care coverage people get could be left up to individual states to decide. That's far from a guarantee of health care for all Americans.