Bernie Sanders Got Republicans To Make His Argument For Universal
WASHINGTON -- In their ongoing efforts to roll back or hamstring Obamacare, Republicans probably weren't hoping that the first Senate hearing on the matter this year would feature a self-described "democratic socialist" getting GOP witnesses to back a key argument for universal health care.
Thursday's hearing of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions was devoted to the question of moving the full-time work standard under the Affordable Care Act from 30 hours a week to 40 hours, and whether more workers would be hurt by the higher or lower limit.
But to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has long supported the creation of a universal health care system, battling over that particular point began to seem absurd, and he opened his remarks by noting that in every other developed country, such a debate would make no sense at all.
"The argument of whether you provide health insurance to people who work 30 hours a week or whether they work 40 hours a week -- whoa," Sanders said. "In every major country on Earth, health care is a right of all people."
With that as his premise, he then asked three of the hearing's witnesses -- two business owners and a school superintendent -- whether their lives and daily endeavors would be improved if government lifted from them the burden of providing health care to their workers.
The panel's only Democratic witness, Joe Fugere, founder of the Seattle-area Tutta Bella Pizzeria chain, readily answered that it would.