Senator Bernie Sanders participates in the Tom Joyner Morning Show Round Table with Don Lemon, Roland Martin, Reverend Al Sharpton and Jacque Reid along with TJMS hosts Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes.
In the exclusive interview, Sanders fields questions about his reported inflated involvement with the development of Obamacare; his plans regarding HBCUs; criminal justice reform; the Flint Water Crisis; the gender wage gap and much more.
Listen to the entire interview below.
Or read the full interview transcript below:
DON LEMON, CNN:
We have been discussing health care and some of the changes you want to make. You’ve heard of Kenneth Thorpe. He says your health care plan is a loser, that it would end up costing people more and that it would end up costing lower and middle income people more and that the cost of your healthcare plan would outweigh the benefits. How do you respond to that?
I think it’s absolute nonsense. We are taking on the Establishment. We are taking on the moneyed interests. We are taking on the insurance industry; we are taking on the drug industry. Every major country on Earth – Europe, Scandinavia, Canada has national health care programs which guarantee healthcare to all of their people. And without exception, the United States is spending far more per capita on healthcare than any of those countries because they don’t have drug companies and insurance companies ripping them off. We have hundreds of healthcare experts and economists who are refuting Mr. Thorpe’s point of view. A Medicare single payer program will guarantee healthcare to every man woman and child in this country and it will save the average middle-class family $5,000 a year in health care costs.
He [Thorpe] says you’re underestimating the cost of your health care plan by $1.1 trillion dollars a year.
When you take on the Establishment, the question that we have to ask ourselves is are we satisfied with 29 million people have no health insurance, with even more being underinsured with high deductibles and high copayments, living in a country in which we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs such that one out of five Americans can’t afford to fill the prescriptions their doctors write.
Every other country on Earth has said No, that’s not the way to go. We need a national health care program. The insurance and drug companies don’t like what I have to say. But as I’ve mentioned, there are hundreds of economists and health care experts who are refuting Mr. Thorpe and who are saying this is the more cost-effective way to go. I helped write the Affordable Care Act.
It has done some very good things. But we still have a long way to go to provide quality health care to all of our people. There are people out here right now who have $5,000 or $10,000 deductibles and they can’t afford to go to the doctor because they don’t have the money in their pockets.
Politifact says that you did not write the Affordable Care Act –that you were involved in helping getting it passed but you and your spokesman saying that – its simply not true.
I was on the committee that helped write that bill. I’m on that committee. It’s The Health, Education and Labor committee, formerly chaired by Ted Kennedy, then chaired by Chris Dodd for a little while, then Tom Harkin. I am on that committee that helped write that bill. I’m still on the committee.
That’s irrefutable. In fact, one of the major provisions in that bill was an expansion of federally qualified community health centers which I helped write with Jim Clyburn over in the House, which is now providing health care to 6 million people who otherwise wouldn’t have had it.
ROLAND MARTIN, NEWS ONE: What is your plan to strengthen HBCU’s in America and what will you do about charter schools and vouchers? Black parents we polled at TV One – 81% are in support of charter schools and vouchers. What will you do about HBCU’s and K-12 public education?
I’m very, very strongly supporting HBCU’s. They are playing a very phenomenal role in providing an education to young people that otherwise would not have it. I’m also very supportive of making public colleges and universities tuition-free, some of which are HBCU’s. At the end of the day in America, young people need higher education to compete in a competitive global economy, regardless of the income of their family if they have the ability and the qualifications to do so. Too many of our kids are not getting their college education because they can’t afford to or they are leaving school deeply, deeply in debt. And that’s an issue that we are focusing on very deeply in this campaign.
What about charters and vouchers, which Black parents are very supportive of?
If they are for private schools, I do not support it, because they are undermining public education. But if it’s in the context of public education, I do support it.
So you support public charter schools?
Yes, but not private.