Sen. Bernie Sanders calls for a coast-to-coast movement to fight greed and oligarchy in a speech May 6, 2017, in Beverly Hills. Christopher Cadelago The Sacramento Bee
Sen. Bernie Sanders calls for a coast-to-coast movement to fight greed and oligarchy in a speech May 6, 2017, in Beverly Hills. Christopher Cadelago The Sacramento Bee

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Capitol Alert

Bernie Sanders wants California to lead on health care

By Christopher Cadelago

ccadelago@sacbee.com

May 06, 2017 10:47 PM

Los Angeles

Sen. Bernie Sanders, assailing Republicans in Washington for their health care bill, delivered a message Saturday to the Democratic-controlled California Legislature: “Please lead the country and pass the single-payer bill.”

“Please make my life easier,” Sanders, who is proposing Medicare for All, single-payer legislation at the federal level, said in a speech in Beverly Hills where he was accepting an award from the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog. “The great state of California can send a message that will be heard all over this country and all over the world if you pass single-payer here.”

Senate Bill 562, which would create a universal, publicly funded health care system in California, is generating tremendous enthusiasm among liberals and its supporters, including unionized nurses who backed Sanders’ presidential campaign with millions of dollars. But even some of the state’s leading Democrats, including Gov. Jerry Brown, have raised questions about whether this is the right time for single-payer or how the plan would be paid for.

Sanders did not delve into policy specifics Saturday. Instead, he continued to confront Republican President Donald Trump for helping lead the effort to repeal the federal health care law. Sanders, seizing on recent remarks by Trump, said he agrees with the president that Australia’s universal health care is superior to the one in the United States, remarks the White House later cast as merely complimentary.

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“Everybody is right once in a while,” Sanders said to laughs. “And on this particular instance, Trump is quite right.”

“So, let me say to the president that if you think the Australian health care system is so good, well, I am going to give you the opportunity to support Legislation that I am going to introduce.”

Bernie Sanders in Sacramento to make final push for Proposition 61

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop in Sacramento to make a final push for Proposition 61 on the West steps of the state Capitol on Monday, November 7, 2016.

Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago