Bernie Sanders: As Of This Point, I'm Not Voting For The Bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said this morning, in an interview with Fox News's Neil Cavuto, that at this point he thinks he'll vote against the current Senate health care bill:

Here's the full quote, when asked directly by Cavuto if he'd vote against the bill now that the Medicare buy-in provision has been removed, following Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) opposition to it:

Well, I'm struggling with this, and, as of this point, I'm not voting for the bill, and here's why...I am gonna to do my best to make this bill a better bill, a bill that I can vote for, but I have indicated both to the White House and the Democratic leadership that my vote is not secure at this point.

And here's the reason: when the public option was withdrawn, because of Lieberman's action, what I worry about is how do you control escalating health care costs? How do you give competition to the private insurance companies who are raising rates, premium rates outrageously every single year, whose whole function in life is to make as much money as they can? What a strong Medicare-type public option would do is at least provide competition to these private insurance companies and prevent, I believe, these large increases in rates.

While Sanders is clearly disappointed that the Medicare buy-in provision was dropped, he hasn't made up his mind to vote against it. He is currently working to expand the role of community health centers, and it's conceivable that changes in that area--not necessarily a reinsertion of the Medicare buy-in proposal--could secure his vote.

"All it means is that he hasn't decided yet and is still working to make the bill better," Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said when asked about the Fox interview and whether Sanders would vote yes if community-health-center provisions were expanded.

H/T ThinkProgress

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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