While pushing for a single-payer health care system on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described democratic socialist, admitted that people would lose their jobs and that the United States would initially lose money.
“There will be a transition, just in the same way, Chris, as we have to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “We create more jobs, but there will be pain, and you got to deal with that pain,” he continued.
Watch Sanders make those comments below:
Cuomo had asked him about how single-payer would disrupt the health care industry and cost money as well as jobs. But Sanders appeared to argue the transition was worth the cost.
After referring to billing staff within hospitals, Sanders said:
“Will those people lose their jobs when we have health care for all guaranteed through a single-payer system? The answer is yes. On the other hand, we have a lack of doctors in this country, a lack of nurses, a lack of nurse practitioners, a lack of dentists. We are an aging population. We need more people to be working with our older people. We will create more jobs under a rational, Medicare-for-all system than currently exists.”
Sanders also pushed back on the idea that the health care system should operate under a profit motive and argued that “the function of a rational health care system is to provide health care to all people in a cost-effective way.”
“At the end of the day,” Sanders also said, “the middle class and working families of this country will be better off under a Medicare-for-all system.”
When Cuomo brought up how “dealing with pain is not something that is done well in politics,” Sanders suggested that people might be willing to endure higher taxes if they shed private insurance costs.
Sanders’ comments came after President Donald Trump led a continual campaign to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and restore interstate competition in the health insurance market.
Although he approved multiple executive actions weakening the ACA, Republicans were unable to pass a repeal package through Congress.
Earlier this week, Trump’s Justice Department declared unconstitutional the ACA’s provisions that force insurance companies to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.