Bernie Sanders Calls GOP's AHCA "Worst Piece Of Legislation I've Ever Seen"

by John Haltiwanger
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senator Bernie Sanders said he will do "everything humanly and legally possible" to ensure the American Health Care Act (AHCA) "never sees the light of day."

AHCA is the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

In early May, the House passed a version of AHCA the Vermont senator described as the "worst piece of legislation, by far, that I have seen in my lifetime."

Subsequently, Senate Republicans have controversially drafted their version of the bill in secret, which has resulted in criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Sanders warned that the Senate version of the AHCA isn't much different from what passed in the House.

For context, in late May, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a report that projected 23 million people would lose health care under the AHCA over the course of the next decade.

The CBO report also projected AHCA would drastically increase the cost of health care for people with preexisting conditions in multiple states.

This helps explain why Sanders has been extremely vocal on the AHCA, repeatedly condemning its potential negative impact and the approach Republicans haven taken in drafting the bill.

On June 18, Sanders appeared on Face the Nation and condemned Senate Republicans for working on the health care bill in secret.

Sanders said,

This is completely unacceptable. I mean, nobody can defend a process which will impact tens of millions of Americans and nobody even knows what's in the legislation ... The important point here is the reason they don't want to bring it public is because it is a disastrous bill.

He added, "I believe Democrats should do everything they can to oppose that legislation in any way that we can."

Sanders held a Q&A about the AHCA with Senator Elizabeth Warren on June 19, and reiterated his criticism of the secret process.

During the discussion, Sanders was highly critical of the fact the Senate hasn't held any public hearings on the AHCA, and described what's happening as an "embarrassing, disastrous process and an embarrassing, disastrous bill."

In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, Sanders asked Republicans, "What are you afraid of?"

On Monday evening, Sanders gave a fiery speech about the AHCA on the Senate floor.

Sanders said the GOP should be "embarrassed" by the secretive process, adding, "So I say to the Republican leadership: What are you afraid of? Bring that bill out."

Republicans will reportedly unveil the bill on June 22.

Senate Republicans plan to reveal text of their draft health care bill on Thursday, Reuters reports.

They apparently want to push for a vote before the July 4 recess, and hope the CBO can promptly review the bill and issue a report.

The vote could happen as early as next Thursday (June 29).