Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blasted the GOP’s decision on Thursday to propose cuts to health spending, saying they will “kill people.”
“These are cuts that will kill people, these are cuts that will hurt people, and these are cuts that should not in a humane society be allowed to take place,” Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said during a markup of the Senate budget.
Republicans plan a budget resolution that will have $473 billion in cuts to Medicare’s current spending path over a decade and about $1 trillion in reductions to Medicaid’s path.
“This is not the time to slash medicare. This budget is a statement of our values, and right now, this budget values the top 1 percent far more than it values the everyday American or the everyday Californian,” Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said.
Republicans are saying that health-care entitlements are unsustainable and will eventually overwhelm the entire budget if changes are not made, citing current projections.
“Nobody up here wants to hurt Medicare. Nobody does. But we have to mindful of the costs,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).
Other Republicans, like Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), argued that because the spending would continue to increase from current levels, reductions from the projected spending path should not be considered cuts.
“To use the word ‘cuts’ I think is to bamboozle the American people into believing that there are actual cuts going on,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
“Only in Washington is a decrease in the rate of increase considered a cut,” he said.
“Let me just say something here,” Sanders interjected. “Our friends say, ‘We don’t want to hurt Medicaid, it’s not actually a cut because nominal dollars are going up.'”
“You cut Medicaid by $1 trillion, 15 million people lose the health insurance they have.”
“You go tell those 15 million people, many of them may have cancer or heart disease, life-threatening illness, it’s not a cut,” he added.