Sanders uses coronavirus outbreak to make case for Medicare-for-all

Will Bernie Sanders supporters vote for another Democratic candidate?

FOX Business’ Connell McShane says some Bernie Sanders voters at the New Hampshire primary are ardent supporters of him, but others mentioned they are open to casting their ballots for other Democratic front-runners.

Bernie Sanders used the deadly coronavirus outbreak and the Trump administration’s reluctance to guarantee an affordable vaccine for all Americans to illustrate the need for universal health care in the U.S.

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“Under the Trump doctrine, if you are wealthy you can buy a vaccine and not succumb to the sickness. If you are poor or working class, you may have to get sick or even die,” Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday night. “That is an outrage. That is unacceptable. We need a vaccine that is available to all, not just those who can afford it.”

He continued: “Health care is a human right, period. So let me be clear: it has never been more important to finally guarantee health care as a human right by passing Medicare for All.”

Sanders, the Democratic presidential frontrunner and a self-avowed democratic socialist, was referring to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s comments earlier in the day. While testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Azar said the administration “can’t control that price” of a vaccine because it needs the private sector to invest.

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"We would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can't control that price because we need the private sector to invest," Azar said. "Price controls won't get us there."

The virus has killed close to 3,000 people, with more than 80,000 cases reported worldwide, mostly in China. So far, there have been a total of 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. That figure includes individuals who have been repatriated to the country, Azar said.

It’s likely that a vaccine — which historically takes between two to five years to develop — for the disease is still at least several months away. At a separate press conference, Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a vaccine would not be applicable for a “year to a year and a half,” due to delays from testing, development, production and distribution.

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The best preventative measure is regular thorough handwashing.

Under Sanders’ health care plan, which could cost up to $30 trillion over the next decade, private insurance would be eliminated and all Americans would be enrolled automatically on a government plan. It would eliminate premiums, deductibles and copays. Out-of-pocket spending would likely vary from person to person, depending on one's income.

It would be phased in over time: The first year, the Medicare eligibility age would be dropped to 55. That would fall to 45 in the second year, and then to 35, until in the fourth year, everyone would be covered.

Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan would be funded by a slew of new taxes, largely levied on corporations and the ultra-wealthy.

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