Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to task Wednesday during a hearing for HHS Secretary-designate Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) after the Vermont lawmaker boldly asserted the U.S. is "not a compassionate" nation.
Sanders' comment came during a discussion with Price before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee about health care in the United States. During Sanders' advocacy for socialized medicine, Price interjected the the U.S. is "a compassionate society" — a remark with which the senator vehemently disagreed.
"No, we are not a compassionate society," Sanders charged. "In terms of our relationship with poor and working people, our record is worse than virtually any other country on earth."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 18, 2017
Moments later, when Paul was given the opportunity to question Price, he used a portion of his time to lecture Sanders and explain why, in his view, is wrong about American compassion:
One of the things that's extraordinary about our country is just two years ago, in 2014, we gave away $400 billion — privately, not the government, individually — to churches and to charities. We're an incredibly compassionate society. This was misplaced in sort of the wonky numbers of this number and that number within health care how much we do help each other.
Not only do we help each other within our own county, I'd bet you most — half the physicians in my community in Bowling Green have gone on international trips and done international charity work and all that is lost in saying that we're this heartless, terrible country, and I would just argue the opposite. I think the greatness of our country and the greatness in the compassion of our country — we give away more than the gross domestic product of most of these socialized countries around the world.
.@RandPaul: "We're an incredibly compassionate society." https://t.co/GVUKyGf3Ma— Fox News (@Fox News)1484757230.0
Price was grilled by Democrats on the Republicans' promise to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act. When Sanders argued for a more socialized system, guaranteeing health coverage as a "right," Price reminded him that there are "consequences" for countries that have chosen to have entirely government-run health care.
"If you want to talk about other countries' health care systems," Price said, "there are consequences to the decisions that they've made, just as there are consequences to the decisions that we've made."
"I believe, and I look forward to working with you, to make certain that every single American has access to the highest quality care and coverage that is possible," he added.
As the Republicans move forward to scrap outgoing President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation, 45 percent of Americans — the highest percentage since April 2009 — say Obamacare is a good idea while 41 percent say it is a bad idea, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Half of Americans — 50 percent — say they have little to no confidence that GOP proposals to replace the law will make things better.