Fact Check: Bernie Sanders Claims 87 Million Americans Without Health Insurance 

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 25: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. Seven candidates qualified for the debate, hosted by CBS News and Congressional Black Caucus Institute, ahead of …
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CLAIM: Bernie Sanders claims that President Donald Trump’s economy has left 87 million Americans without health insurance.

VERDICT: False. Recent data show that the number of uninsured Americans is around 46 million.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said at the Democrat debate on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s economy is only good for billionaires and that 87 million Americans are without health insurance.

“How will you convince voters that a democratic socialist can do better than President Trump with the economy?” the CBS moderator asked Sanders.

“You’re right,” Sanders said. “The economy is doing great for people like Mr. Bloomberg and other billionaires.”

“But you know what?” Sanders said. “For the ordinary American things are not so good.”

“Half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck,” Sanders said, and “87 million Americans have no health insurance or are underinsured.”

In fact, according to the left-leaning Kaiser Family Foundation in December, 2019, many fewer Americans were uninsured in recent years:

The number of uninsured non-elderly Americans decreased from over 46.5 million in 2010 (the year the ACA was enacted) to just below 27 million in 2016. However, for the second year in a row, the number of uninsured people increased from 2017 to 2018 by nearly 500,000 people.

Although the number of underinsured is more difficult to calculate, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey released in February, 2019:

People who are “underinsured” have high health plan deductibles and out-of-pocket medical expenses relative to their income and are more likely to struggle paying medical bills or to skip care because of cost. Among adults who were insured all year, 29 percent were underinsured in 2018, up from 23 percent in 2014, according to results from the Commonwealth’s Fund’s latest Biennial Health Insurance Survey.

The others at the Democrat debate included Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer, Mike Bloomberg, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren.

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