Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) vowed on Saturday that if his 2020 bid for the presidency succeeds, he will slash prescription drug prices in half.
During a Sunday appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” the senator told host Margaret Brennan she could hold him to it.
“Let me make a campaign promise to you ― and you can repeat this, play this tape over if I’m elected president ― and that is, if I am elected president, I’m going to cut prescription drug costs in this country by 50% so that we are not paying any more than other major countries are paying,” he said. “Maybe we can do better than that.”
During his 2016 run, Sanders campaigned on health care reform and “Medicare for All” as one of his primary proposals, and he’s using the same playbook for 2020.
In January, Sanders and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), along with others, introduced a three-bill package into Congress, including the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, which aims to fulfill his 50% goal.
A press release on the proposal says it would ensure that when buying prescriptions, Americans are not charged more than the median price in Canada, the U.K., France, Germany and Japan.
The bill is currently sitting in the Senate.
Sanders also used his interview to hit back at President Donald Trump’s attempt to strike down the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, for which there appears to be no viable alternative at this moment.
The senator predicted disaster, particularly if protections for preexisting conditions disappear.
“That means if you have cancer, you have heart disease, you have diabetes ― if Trump gets his way, the cost of health insurance for you will be so high that many people literally will not be able to afford it,” he said. “Thousands of people will literally die. That’s Trump’s health insurance plan.”
Last week, Republicans said they’re willing to try once again to replace Obamacare, but the White House needs to first find a workable replacement.
Like Sanders, other candidates including Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have proposed measures to clamp down on the pharmaceutical industry and scale back prices, signaling that the issue may be key for Democrats in the next election.
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