DOVER, N.H. — Bernie Sanders’ long-championed “Medicare for All” health care system will cost people their jobs, the Vermont senator said Saturday while campaigning in the home of the first-in-the-nation primary.
“Will there be job loss? Yes, there will be,” Sanders said in response to an audience question during a health care-themed town hall in Dover, N.H.
But Sanders suggested job re-training as a way to help those who would lose their jobs in the transition to the government-run health care system that abolishes private insurance.
University of Massachusetts Amherst economist Robert Pollin told Kaiser Health News earlier this year Medicare for All could cost some 2 million jobs.
Sanders was forced to address the issue Saturday when answering a question from Maine resident James McCoy, a health insurance grievance and appeals analyst, about what would happen to his job under Medicare for All.
“What we have to do is make sure people should not have to argue with you or anybody else. If they are sick, they deserve the coverage and that’s what Medicare for All is about,” Sanders said.
Sanders acknowledged his system would result in job loss before offering his potential solution.
“We are putting into Medicare for All what we are calling a ‘Just Transition Program,’ which will help everybody in the industry for a five-year period maintain their income, get the job training that they need to get another job,” Sanders said.
While U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has largely taken the heat over Medicare for All, Sanders has had to admit the middle class will pay more in taxes — though he says they’ll save on health care costs through the elimination of premiums, co-pays and deductibles — and has previously said the plan would result in job loss.
McCoy told Sanders he was a progressive trying to decide between the Vermont senator and his Massachusetts colleague. Afterward, he told the Herald he preferred how Warren would handle job loss under Medicare for All.
“I respect his honesty,” McCoy said of Sanders, adding that those in the health insurance industry are not trying to be “evil people. We’re just like everyone else, trying to support our families.”
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