Former Republican New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday for promoting policies that are so far to the left that they resemble those of socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro.
“It sounds like Bernie Sanders is having his policies and statements written by the Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro,” Sununu told Fox News host Sandra Smith when asked about the presidential candidate’s new proposal to cancel $81 billion of medical debt. “I mean, this is socialism to the extreme.”
“I think it indicates that Bernie has decided that it is down to a two-person race with Elizabeth Warren and what he has to do in order to win is to out-pander her,” he continued. “And so you’re going to see a continuing series of all of these.”
Accordingly, the Vermont senator previewed an upcoming plan that would wipe away individuals’ past-due medical bills without impacting their credit scores. The $81 billion price tag is exclusive of his Medicare-for-All plan — a keystone of his presidential campaign — which estimates indicate could cost as much as $40 trillion.
In June, Sanders unveiled a separate proposal to eliminate the student loan debt of every American — approximately 45 million people. That sweeping plan would cost upwards of $1.5 trillion.
“But the other thing that comes out of this statement — and Republicans ought to take advantage of it — is that Bernie Sanders is doing an extremely good job of telling us what a disaster Obamacare is and that Obamacare really has to be replaced,” Sununu said.
The New Hampshire governor also noted that as Sanders and fellow progressive challenger Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) battle for the far-left lane of the current Democratic presidential primary, both candidates will likely try to outdo each other on the “everything for everybody” front.
“[Health insurance] is becoming a big test and they’re all pounding Obamacare and in ways that Republicans weren’t as effective as these Democrats seem to be,” Sununu said. “The only one defending Obamacare — and it’s beginning to slip even there — is [former Vice President] Joe Biden.”
Biden, who is largely running on former President Barack Obama’s legacy, is one of the only leading Democratic contenders not to advocate for a Medicare-for-All system that would overhaul the entire health insurance market. Rather, he has vowed to reinstate Obamacare’s individual mandate to attempt to ensure all Americans obtain sufficient health insurance.
The mandate was initially part of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare. As a way to bypass the unconstitutional requirement to force Americans to purchase insurance, the individual mandate was upheld in 2012 by the U.S. Supreme Court as an income-based tax levy.
The individual mandate was repealed after President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017.
“For everyone but Biden this has become an effort to be attractive to the millennials who have absolutely no idea what things cost and who have absolutely no idea that eventually — as Margaret Thatcher said — in socialism, you begin to run out of other people’s money,” Sununu added.