Moneyed interests "control" the Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) lamented Tuesday.
Sanders, the liberal independent senator, said that health insurance companies and drug manufacturers are getting too much out of the Senate healthcare bill, but said he'd still vote for it in order to extend coverage.
"The insurance companies are going to make out like bandits. The drug companies are going to make out like bandits," Sanders said during an appearance on MSNBC. "No question about that. This is not a strong bill."
A number of liberal senators have lamented the strength of the bill, complaining about its subsidies to insurers in the absence of a government-run option to stay competitive with private health providers.
Sanders unloaded on Congress, though, for being too beholden to corporate interests. He said:
The truth is -- let me break the bad news to the American people -- big money interests control the United States Congress. That's the reality. Some of us, for years -- I'm an independent -- have been trying to give the working class, middle class, low-income people some power. But the reality is, campaign contributions -- What do you think? We bailed out Wall Street; we're giving insurance companies, drug companies breaks here. But the choice that I have is whether you kill this bill and you allow 46 million people to continue without health insurance. I think that's the worst option.
But while the state of the Congress may be bad, Sanders argued, it is better than it was under Republican control.
"What I'm trying to say is, the political situation in this country -- it was worse under the Republicans. Nothing was done that didn't have the support of the big money interests," Sanders argued. "I think it's better under the Democrats, at least they are trying to do something."