Sanders renews call for universal healthcare

Sanders renews call for universal healthcare
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) Sanders2020 Dems seize on MLK Day for campaign messaging Sanders knocks Trump in MLK Day speech Grassley to test GOP on lowering drug prices MORE (I-Vt.) is doubling down on his support for universal healthcare after weeks of mostly shying away from the topic on the campaign trail.

In a speech Monday at Liberty University in Virginia, Sanders blasted the nation’s healthcare system for killing “thousands of Americans” every year who can’t afford insurance. 

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“That is not justice, that is not morality. People should not be dying in the United States of America when they are sick,” Sanders, who is running for president, said to roaring applause at the Christian college. “We are the only major country on earth that does not guarantee healthcare to all people as a right, and I think we should change that.”

Sanders, who is an ardent supporter of creating a single-payer healthcare system, has shifted his talking points on healthcare since his campaign launched this spring.

Instead, he has focused largely on prescription drug costs, an issue with bipartisan support. Over the last few weeks, Sanders has partnered with the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee to combat high drug prices. The pair will unveil a bill next week.

But at his speech Monday, Sanders stressed universal health insurance as a basic element of the country’s healthcare system.

“I have talked personally to doctors throughout Vermont and to physicians all over this country. And without exception, they tell me there are times when there are patients who walk into their office very, very sick,” Sanders said. “They say, ‘Why didn’t you come in here when you were sick?’ Their answer is, ‘I don’t have any health insurance' or 'I have a high deductible.’ ”

Sanders’s healthcare platform contrasts with Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Russian pop star linked to Trump Tower meeting cancels US tour Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies MORE's continued to praise ObamaCare in campaign events.

Sanders, however, has repeatedly said the legislation’s goal remains incomplete, pointing to the rising cost of deductibles and the millions of people who are underinsured.