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Bypassing Major Networks, Over a Million Tune In for Sanders 'Medicare for All' Town Hall

Bypassing Major Networks, Over a Million Tune In for Sanders 'Medicare for All' Town Hall

Published on
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Edit News Sanders's 'Medicare for All' Town Hall Draws More Than A Million Viewers

Senator held online event to counter corporate media's coverage of healthcare, frequently "interrupted by commercials by the drug companies"

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hosted an online town hall meeting on his proposal for Medicare for All on Tuesday night. (Photo: @PrincepsTonza/Twitter)

Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) town hall on Medicare for All drew more than one million online viewers in addition to the hundreds of attendees who packed an auditorium at the U.S. Capitol to capacity.

Thank you to the 1.1 million people who tuned in live to the first-ever national Medicare for All town hall tonight. Together we will successfully move the United States to a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care system and guarantee health care to all.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 24, 2018

Speaking with multiple panels featuring single-payer healthcare advocates and experts—including Dr. Don Berwick, who oversaw Medicare and Medicaid under President Barack Obama—Sanders moderated a nearly two-hour discussion about the failures of the current U.S. healthcare system and how its costs and outcomes compare to those in countries with universal healthcare.

When Sanders asked Berwick whether there is any legitimate economic reason not to expand Medicare to all Americans, he replied, "No, there's no reason. It's just will."

"You can stand up for people," Berwick added. "Why wouldn’t we do that for all Americans, not just people over 65?"

.@BernieSanders: It’s difficult to defend a system in which:
30 million people have ZERO health insurance
Even more are underinsured
Healthcare outcomes are not good
Life expectancy not particularly high
We spend twice as much as other countries#MedicareForAll Now! pic.twitter.com/foP3kJ1MXq

— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) January 24, 2018

The discussion also covered the economic impact of Medicare for All. While Republicans have spent years pushing the narrative about high tax rates as a result of government-funded healthcare, owners of businesses large and small explained to the national audience the increasingly heavy financial burden that the for-profit system is putting on both their companies and their employees.

#MedicareForAll Historic National Town Hall

Medicare for All is Better for Business

“Let’s control healthcare costs. Let’s do what the rest of the industrialized world does, let us pass a #SinglePayer healthcare system.” @BernieSanders pic.twitter.com/Q1IuFtTfdW

— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) January 24, 2018

In his closing remarks, Sanders noted that a town hall broadcast exclusively online was necessary to provide viewers with the facts on Medicare for All. Although 53 percent of Americans now support government-funded healthcare for all, he said, corporate media outlets hardly cover the issue.

"The reason we're doing this program tonight is you don't see this stuff," he said. "It ain't gonna be on CBS. It ain't gonna be on NBC. What astounds me is we already have a pretty good majority of the American people who already believe in universal health care, believe that it is the government's responsibility to make sure that health care is a right. And we have reached that stage with media not talking about the issue at all."

Historic #MedicareForAll Town Hall

“This is the first national town hall taking place outside of corporate media interests../Let me guarantee you this, this event will not be interrupted by commercials by the drug companies, Wall Street or drug companies!” @BernieSanders pic.twitter.com/TCMVQA5LBs

— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) January 24, 2018

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I sympathize with the glass-half-empty point of view, but there’s also this: by airing this topic on the net, Sanders has helped, to some degree at least, to drive a wedge between the corporate media and their dwindling audience. Any efforts toward that end are to be applauded.


I’m curious what anyone who watched this thought of it.

Did you learn anything? Did it change your mind from whatever previous position you held? Was the discussion focused on S1804, or universal coverage more generally?

(Actually, I see now that there is a link to the recording on the prior article, but I’m still curious about other’s impressions.)

Bernie has done dumb things, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

When he does something laudable, acknowledge it and help him.


I live out in the sticks with a bad wifi connection so I was unable to watch the whole thing but what I saw was of a general nature.

The question I have is has this type of forum been used before? Not that I remember. This was pretty darn creative and shows “leadership”.


Sanders is playing chess not checkers. One of the few outstanding legislatures and you want to demonize him? It is unbelievable.


I don’t support any Democrats. I do support single payer.

Bernie can ask me to follow him on both of the above. He’ll get a “hell no” and an “I’m listening.”


Bernie has learned from repug thugs, repeat, repeat, and then repeat some more with the truths. Repug do it with lies, Bernie does it with truth. Yes, I have heard it over and over again and it still needs to be repeated so maybe others hear.


Bernie is one of the best in congress if you appreciate progressive view points. I have to admit that I am wearing out with the Republicans here always bashing Bernie when all they have on the other hand is an absolutely HORRIFIC Donald Trump as president and a whole line up for Republican legislators that pander to lobbyists, corporations and the rich. .

Here is REALITY about health care around the world.
These Are The 36 Countries That Have Better Healthcare Systems Than The US

The United States is a much larger country than these other countries with more wealth than most other countries, yet we have failed miserably for decades to have a health care system that is within the best in the world. Not even in the best dozen countries. We were given this research back in 2000 and there has been little or no movement at all in this ranking of the world’s nations with America being one of the richest but with one of the worst health care systems.


The food stamp ordeal is a red herring. Senator Debbie Stabenow was the ranking member on the Ag Committee, she is the one who agreed to the cut in the food stamps to make it part of the omnibus Ag Bill. Here is Senator Sanders statement:

"Senate Passes Farm Bill
Shumlin Tells Sanders Vt. Will Work to Avert Worst Food Stamp Cuts

WASHNGTON, Feb. 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today issued the following statement after the Senate voted 68-32 to pass and send to President Barack Obama a new five-year farm bill:

“This was a difficult vote on a bill which has some positive provisions but also some very negative ones.

“This bill will bring greater stability to Vermont dairy farmers by helping them to manage risks and produce products more efficiently. It also is good news that a successful MILC program will stay in place until new insurance provisions for dairy farmers are implemented.

“The bill encourages increased access to healthy, local foods and will build on a growing movement in Vermont which has created agriculture jobs and provided local food for Vermonters. Another provision helps low-income seniors shop at farmers’ markets and roadside stands that are popular across Vermont.

“I am very disappointed that this bill makes $8.6 billion in cuts over the next decade to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. While the final bill steps back from $40 billion in food stamp cuts that House Republicans had demanded, it is both morally and economically wrong to cut assistance to families in a very difficult economy.

“‘I am very pleased that Governor Shumlin has assured me that he will work with the Vermont Legislature to prevent cuts in food stamps for Vermont families and seniors receiving home heating assistance.’”

The reality of practical politcs is that bills have provisions that are both beneficial and harmful.


Nonsense, he is representing the people of Vermont. He did not support cutting food stamps, that is not in debate.


And your solution including who will push it is?

He voted for the farm bill. There is not a bill in Congress that any representative could possibly support in toto, that is the reality of practical politics.


I would sure hope Bernie is correct, but in my view, anyone who actually believes that statement does not understand how powerful the political, opposition is to Medicare for all.

It depends on how “economic reason” is defined.

The 1% define it as their right to unlimited profit at the expense of the 99%…

Members of the 99% not afflicted with terminal denial syndrome define economic reason within the context of an economy that benefits the majority of Murkins, not just the 1%.

Unfortunately “there is a class war and my class is winning” according to Warren Buffett back in 2004. That statement is more in the faces of the 99% with each passing year, making single payer and other progressive actions harder to achieve the longer we wait.


I do not know if that statement is entirely true, but I can rephrase it to: WHAT THE DNC IS PLAYING IS GULLIBLE PROGRESSIVES.


Bernie never stops working towards the “political revolution,” by which he means electing enough progressives to office to get progressive legislation passed.

In order to do that, Bernie is constantly reaching out to the unwoke, who get most of their “news” from the corporate TV media. This livestreamed healthcare forum was a brilliant move.


Excellent discussion.

For those of you that missed it, Google ‘Young Turks’ and it is there for you to watch in all of its glory.

Way to go Bernie!


Well, I am now trying to watch the video from this Town Hall that a link for was provided in a preceding comments section of a preceding article. The people who put together the video decided to put little balls/bubbles wafting across the bottom of the screen (nice for those of us with ADD) along with other distracting textual messages (WHY DO THEY HAVE TO DO THIS ALL THE TIME for heaven’s sake!!). Also, the video is at resolution of 1280X720@30fps and even my relatively new computer which has 4 processors is actually having trouble being able to display it without pausing ever few seconds. Really, this is a video that they want poor people to see to know about the advantages of Medicare for All? Or maybe its just for all the well off people who don’t have to worry about health care to feel like they are compassionate… Poor people, many of which probably don’t even own a computer, are certainly not going to be seeing this. But at least they are talking about them.

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The downside of streaming this is Bernie was probably just preaching to the choir. Who watched this except those already committed to Medicare for All. On CNN or some other network some of those watching would be skeptical about Medicare for All and perhaps he could have made some converts. This just seem liked a left wing echo chamber event where people watched to have their beliefs confirmed. Right now the networks have no reason to be covering Medicare for All since the earliest it could possibly be passed is 2021. Therefore, the networks are focusing on more timely things.