Sanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries

Sanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan Castro hits fundraising threshold for December debate Buttigieg draws fresh scrutiny, attacks in sprint to Iowa MORE (I-Vt.) will call on his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination to reject campaign donations from the health insurance and drug industries in a Wednesday speech urging the party to embrace his "Medicare for All" plan.

“You can’t change a corrupt system by taking its money,” Sanders will say in a speech at George Washington University, according to prepared remarks provided by his campaign.

“If we are going to break the stranglehold of corporate interests over the health care needs of the American people, we have got to confront a Washington culture that has let this go on for far too long,” he will say.

ADVERTISEMENT

“That is why I am calling on every Democratic candidate in this election to join us in rejecting money from the insurance and drug industries. Candidates who are not willing to take that pledge should explain to the American people why those interests believe their campaigns are a good investment.”

The remarks come amid intensifying debate between Sanders and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan Castro hits fundraising threshold for December debate Buttigieg draws fresh scrutiny, attacks in sprint to Iowa MORE, the Democratic front-runner who has warned that Sanders’s Medicare for All plan will dismantle ObamaCare, which has become more popular since its passage in 2011.

Biden and other centrist Democrats have warned that Medicare for All is politically unfeasible and a losing issue for the party in the general election.

Sanders’s call for Democrats to reject contributions of more than $200 from PACs, lobbyists or top executives of health insurance or pharmaceutical companies could be aimed at ramping up pressure on Biden, who has held high-dollar fundraisers even as his rivals for the nomination have sworn off money from bundlers or corporate PACs.

The Biden campaign has argued that it has been open about who he solicits cash from. Most of the fundraisers Biden has attended have been open to the press.

Sanders and a number of other 2020 contenders have also signed a pledge not to accept donations from the fossil fuel industry.