Star freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was given the opportunity during Thursday’s House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing to criticize not just drug giant Gilead Sciences, but also the American health care system at large.
The committee held a hearing on drug pricing to examine a drug called Truvada that is used to treat HIV. During testimony, the CEO of Gilead argued that the government doesn’t own the patent for Truvada.
Ocasio-Cortez sounded off, saying that “this is about the system of incentives that we have set up” before reaming the U.S. system:
“I blame us, I blame this body because every single developed country in the world guarantees health care as a right except us — except the United States because we can’t get it together. Because we don’t have the fortitude to kick pharmaceutical lobbyists outside of our congressional offices.”
Here’s a clip of that exchange:
.@RepAOC @AOC: "I blame us. I blame this body because every single developed country in the world guarantees health care as a right except us, except the United States, because we can't get it together." pic.twitter.com/9adUIKQlIb
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 16, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the loudest voices in the fight for “Medicare for All,” a policy that is now supported by almost all of the 2020 Democratic candidates.
This has been a good year for the Medicare for All movement. In late April, the House held its first-ever hearing on Medicare for All after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) introduced a bill that would fund a national health insurance program that would be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Of course, there’s almost no chance that a Medicare for All bill will actually pass in this Congress. Republicans control the Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been pretty open about the fact that he’s going to kill any bill he doesn’t like.