The audience at a Fox News town hall cheered when Fox News moderator Bret Baier asked if they'd be "willing to transition to a government-run system," signaling support for Medicare for All. The moment was caught on camera at a town hall in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, yesterday where Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) drummed up support for his 2020 presidential campaign.
“I want to ask the audience a question, if you could raise your hand here,” Baier said. “A show of hands of how many people get their insurance from work, private insurance right now.”
Most audience members raised their hands.
“Now of those, how many are willing to transition to what the senator says, a government-run system?” Baier asked.
The same amount of people raised their hands. Many cheered loudly, much to Baier's surprise.
“There’s 180 million people on private insurance, and they would be lost, right?” Baier continued.
To that, Sanders replied:
"Fair question. I know it’s what the right wing throws out, so let me answer it, all right? Millions of people every single year lose their health insurance, you know why? They get fired or they quit and they go to another employer. I was a mayor for eight years and you know what I did, what probably every mayor in America does, is you look around for the best insurance program, the most cost-effective insurance. You change insurance. Every year, millions of workers wake up in the morning and their employer has changed the insurance that they have. Maybe they liked the doctors, some people are nodding their heads, OK. So this is not new, every year. Now what we’re talking about actually is stability. That when you have a ‘Medicare for All’ it is there now and will be there in the future.”
The audience cheered again.
Baier and other Fox News personalities have denounced Medicare for All proposals as a "socialist" attempt to usurp a capitalist structure and abolish all private insurance. But several polls, including one conducted by The Hill in October 2018, show that the majority of Americans support Medicare for All. A similar poll conducted in January 2019 showed that 56 percent of American voters support such a system. And the footage from the town hall only accentuates what many already know: That the United States is ready for a change.
Sanders touted the town hall as a great success, saying that Fox News "couldn't hide the truth" that most Americans favor a switch from a "dysfunctional, profit-driven health care system."
The footage from the town hall soon gained the attention of President Donald Trump himself, who referred to Sanders as "Crazy Bernie."
The White House, via Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, also denounced a Medicare for All proposal. She called the plan a "total government takeover of health care that would actually hurt seniors, eliminate private health insurance for 180 million Americans, and cripple our economy and future generations with unprecedented debt."
Last week, Senator Sanders introduced updated Medicare for All legislation in the Senate. The new legislation would transition the U.S. health care system to a single-payer system over a four-year period. It would also eliminate nearly all premiums, co-pays and deductibles. The new plan differs from Sanders' own 2017 proposal, in that it would expand Medicare to cover home and community-based long-term care services.