Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told Jimmy Fallon during a Wednesday appearance on The Tonight Show that the coronavirus pandemic is proving to Americans that the United States needs a single-payer health care system.
While an upbeat Sanders said he “could feel better” following his electoral losses on Tuesday, he said his campaign has “introduced an agenda” that the American people are backing. He specifically pointed to his hallmark proposal, Medicare for All, and argued that the coronavirus pandemic is showing Americans that a single-payer system is necessary.
“People now understand, especially with the coronavirus, that it is insane that we live in a nation in which 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured and can’t get to a doctor when they should. That we need a Medicare For All single-payer program,” he said. “People got that.
Sanders doubled down on that sentiment on Twitter.
“The absurdity of our health care system is becoming more and more obvious as we face the challenge of the coronavirus,” he said. “We need Medicare for All.”
Today some 87 million Americans remain uninsured or underinsured. The absurdity of our health care system is becoming more and more obvious as we face the challenge of the coronavirus. We need Medicare for All.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 11, 2020
The Trump administration is vying for an economic relief package as the world battles the deadly virus, which has infected over 127,000 people worldwide. While Sanders has consistently lamented the U.S. as “the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a human right,” countries with health care system Sanders purportedly admires, such as Italy, have been ravaged by the illness. Italy’s hospitals are completely overwhelmed and have reduced to rationing care for older people.
As Breitbart News detailed:
At a hospital in Italy’s northern Lombardy region — the epicenter of not only Italy’s but Europe’s coronavirus crisis — patients with the best chances of survival have been moved to the front of the line, getting full attention from hospital staff, according to a report by the Times.
The report added that doctors are saying some patients suffering strokes or other traumas cannot be treated, and that patients dealing with other serious health problems — such as pneumonia, heart attacks, and strokes — might be unable to obtain a hospital bed.
As for non-urgent procedures, those have been reduced to almost zero, according to Italian doctors.
“If someone between 80 and 95 has serious breathing difficulties, you probably don’t proceed,” said Christian Salaroli, anesthetist at a hospital in Bergamo, according to the Times.
At San Giovanni Bosco Hospital in Turin, head anesthetist Marco Vergano said, “We can’t invent new intensive care unit beds.”
“It’s important to understand that patients who arrive with a grave interstitial pneumonia from Covid-19 will not be in intensive care for a few days but for weeks,” he added.
Over 12,000 have been infected with the Chinese coronavirus in Italy. Within a 24-hour time span, nearly 200 people in the country died due to the virus. The death toll in Italy now stands at 827.
More centralized government-run countries, like China — the virus’s place of origin — have also suffered. The communist regime has seen nearly 81,000 reported cases and over 3,000 deaths. In February, China’s state-run media attacked the U.S. “simultaneously accusing the U.S. of not doing enough to help and condemning it as racist for offering to help at all.”
Sanders made a similar pitch for Medicare for All during a rally with supporters in St. Louis, Missouri, this week.
“Question. How many major countries on earth do not guarantee health care to all people as a human right?” Sanders asked, using the question as a segue to talk about the coronavirus and make his Medicare for All pitch.
“And just look at the insanity dealing with this coronavirus. This very serious problem that we are dealing with in America and dealing with all over the world,” Sanders said.
“Think about the insanity of a system where today somebody wakes up and maybe they think they have the symptoms of coronavirus. Yet they cannot afford to go to a doctor,” he continued.
“What does that mean? So they’re going to go to work and make a serious epidemic even worse,” he added.