A small business from Texas confronted Bernie Sanders about exploding health care costs under Obamacare, telling him she simply can’t afford to provide insurance for all of her employees.
During CNN’s Ted Cruz-Bernie Sanders debate on Tuesday, the business owner, who operates several hair salons in Texas, asked Sanders how she can comply with Obamacare without passing on costs to customers or lowering her employees’ wages. She said she has just under 50 employees.
— MRCTV.org (@mrctv) February 8, 2017
“Let me give you an answer you will not be happy with,” Sanders replied. “I think that businesses that employ 50 people or more… I’m sorry, I think that in America today, everybody should have health care. And if you have more than 50 people, you know what, I’m afraid to tell you, I think you will have to provide health insurance.”
The business owner quickly shot back:
“So my question is how do I do that without raising my prices to my customers or lowering the wages to my employees?”
Sanders went on to argue that it’s “unfair” that there might be “somebody else in Fort Worth who is providing decent health insurance to their employees,” but they have to compete with her business that doesn’t provide an employer-based health care plan.
“I think you’ll find the profit margin in my entire industry about the same,” the business owner replied.
The reactions to the exchange were harsh:
Sanders tells a business owner she should be forced to pay for insurance. Which means firing people. Because stupid. #CNNDebateNight
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 8, 2017
small business owner: i can't afford to stay in business and simultaneously provide healthcare for my employees
sanders: go out of business
— edgar allan homo (@younggrandpappy) February 8, 2017
Wow that question from the small business owner was BRUTAL for Sanders. BRUTAL. #CNNDebateNight
— Bill (@thatbillokeefe) February 8, 2017
Sanders should've been more prepared for the question from the small-business owner. Is a common critique of ACA. #CNNDebateNight
— Jake (@jakeapodaca) February 8, 2017
Sanders isn’t coming off well here; looks like he’s lecturing a small business owner on how to run her business.
— Sterling Beard (@SterlingCBeard) February 8, 2017
To be fair, Sanders ultimately conceded that he doesn’t know much about hair salons in Fort Worth, Texas.