Coronavirus: Bernie Sanders pitches 'Medicare for all', says COVID-19 may claim more lives than World War II
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders called for 'Medicare for all' on Thursday, March 12, warning that the US is facing an unprecedented emergency situation which is comparable to World War II. America has so far seen 1,600 confirmed or presumptive cases of coronavirus with the death toll crossing 41. The country’s economy, too, is feeling the heat of the virus scare, which has a global impact.
Speaking in Burlington in his state Vermont, the independent senator said: “The crisis we face from the coronavirus is on a scale of a major war, and we must act accordingly.”
“The number of casualties may actually be even higher than what the armed forces experienced in World War II. In other words, we have a major, major crisis and we must act accordingly.”
Sanders, who is increasingly falling behind in the race against former Vice President Joe Biden to bag the Democratic nomination, called for drastic action to arrest the spread of the disease, including guaranteeing unemployment insurance and setting up emergency homeless shelters to enlisting medical residents and retired doctors to join the coronavirus response process.
The senator's words came shortly after Biden came up with his detailed response to the crisis in which he slammed President Donald Trump’s isolationist approach. The Trump administration has banned travel from several countries in Europe to the US for 30 days beginning Friday, March 13, midnight and the decision has made the troubled financial markets more uneasy.
Sanders seconded Biden’s critical response to Trump to call it inept in handling the pandemic and sought the formation of a bipartisan body of health experts to lead the fight against the virus that has claimed over 5,000 lives worldwide.
The socialist leader, however, put his primary focus on the necessity to aid poor Americans who are set to be hit badly by the “global economic meltdown” that he claimed the US is facing.
“If there ever was a time in the modern history of our country when we are in this together, this is that moment. We need to worry about those who are already sick, we need to worry about working families with children, people with disabilities, the homeless and all those who are vulnerable,” said the 78-year-old.
'Medicare for all'
The Vermont senator, who recently signed a letter raising concern over the coronavirus’ outbreak in overcrowded jails, also batted for his “Medicare for All” idea amid the health scare. He said it's high time to pass his plan for universal healthcare since the US does not guarantee health care to everyone as like other developed countries.
Sanders also proposed a guaranteed employment insurance for anybody who loses their job without any fault of their own.
“During a crisis, we must make sure that we care for the communities most vulnerable to the health and economic pain that is coming. The coronavirus is already causing a global economic meltdown, which is impacting people throughout the world and in our own country — and it is especially dangerous for low-income and working-class families,” the veteran added.
The Trump campaign hit back at Sanders’ plan saying the Democrat was playing politics by “recklessly provoking anxiety and fear”.